Eager shoppers latched onto ‘Black Friday’

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Like Halloween and Valentine’s Day, another North American tradition called “Black Friday” has become popular in Norway, much to the despair of critics. Thousands of Norwegians stood in lines and even camped outside shopping centers, to cash in Friday on what they believed to be huge discounts on selected merchandise.

The fourth Friday in November has been a major shopping day in the US for years, formally kicking off the Christmas shopping season that’s actually promoted long before Halloween in October. Now referred to as “Black Friday,” the origins of the name remain unclear. Some say it’s rooted in retailers finally breaking into “the black” (making profits) because of the sheer volume of sales. Others say the term refers to the huge traffic jams  caused by the retailers’ promotions and special pre-Christmas sales, while still others connect it to the anti-shopping movement, launched to oppose the commercialization of Christmas and over-consumption.

Whatever its roots, Norwegian retailers have now embraced “Black Friday” several years after a new “outlet”-style shopping center opened south of Oslo in 2009. This week it once again attracted huge crowds and erstwhile shoppers who camped out in freezing temperatures for days, in the hopes of being among the first to storm through the doors when the “Black Friday” sales began. Other retailers have followed suit, drawing in crowds themselves.

The trend deeply disturbs anti-capitalist and pro-environment activists. “We don’t need Black Friday,” Arild Hermstad of Framtiden i våre hender (The Future in Our Hands), told newspaper Dagsavisen. “This is just something the business world had dreamed up and that got imported to Norway. It’s only to build up hype for Christmas shopping. It sends the opposite message of what the world needs.”

The retailers were raking in customers, though. Hermstad’s pleas for Norwegians to ignore the “Black Friday” hype weren’t heard among the hordes of shoppers who fought over merchandise at shopping centers around the country.

newsinenglish.no staff


  1. inquisitor says:

    For the first time since I moved to Norway, many of the fliers in my mailbox had Black Friday advertisements. It was all over the place at the local malls and shopping centers.

    In the US they are finding out that business raise prices before this season, coupled with old stock on electronics and computers that are already depreciating, so the deals you think you are getting are not so big on many items.

    But it does seem to be quite a successful advertising and marketing technique. And that is what retail is all about.
    It is a natural survival response to the domination of internet shopping where warm bodies don’t need to enter a shop or store, but they have to for Black Friday.

    To do differently would mean to operate a retail business and do what you can to not get customers, to not make sales, to not make profit.
    To suggest the world does not need this or it makes the world a worse place is a bit ridiculous. Unless necessary goods and services are offered for free, your life and your security is based upon commerce. Stop denying the reality for some moralistic high ground as you are just deluding yourself.

    Where does an anti-capitalist shop?

    • I agree with your sentiments entirely. Many Norwegians have far too much spare time….and indeed nothing to do with it but be ‘moralistic’ at every opportunity…….very, very boring……

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