By Allan Crow
I only twigged about Black Friday when I turned up at Asda bright and early to do a normal shopping, and found a queue behind barriers manned by security guards.
At that stage anyone driving past the Kirkcaldy store would have been forgiven for thinking it was mayhem inside.
In fact it was as quiet as a church service at prayer.
Asda had chucked all its discounts good - and there really weren’t that many - into a pen in the foyer, and were letting folk in a couple at a time. Those of us doing a normal-priced shop were free to wander round the store at our leisure.
Listening to the in-store tannoy I couldn’t help but smile.
Other than discount tellies which were ‘‘hot off a lorry’’ - they maybe wanted to re-word that line - there was an electric toothbrush at £45.
Just as I wondered who on earth spent that on a leccy brush, I found out it was reduced from £180. My stereo cost roughly that amount.
Elsewhere Black Friday was an utter shambles - and retailers like Asda and Tesco must bear full responsibility.
Any store manager who took one look at the queues outside, flung the doors open and thought it’d be exciting to see the rush ought to be sacked. They were negligent and ill-prepared.
They were effectively saying ‘‘go on - fill yer boots’’ until the chaos descended and suddenly it didn’t seem like a wheeze anymore.
The scenes of folk fighting over cheap tellies were disgraceful; people were shoved to the floor, and items grabbed out of hands.
The police were called to several supermarkets to sort out someone else’s mess - I hope those responsible are given a bill for their time.
Even at Asda, where it was all jolly civilised, the tannoy messages were still aimed at getting the maximum cash from our wallets.
‘‘Spend, spend, spend with Asda’’ was one exhortation. Imagine if the atmosphere had been frenzied rather than friendly. I even got caught up in the excitement - I got two boxes of Pringles for a quid! Only wanted one...
We all like a bargain, but Black Friday was a cynical marketing exercise ramped up by slick PR machines.
It is a tradition as alien to the UK as Thanksgiving, and one that has to be culled, or at least limited, before the 2015 hype comes round.
It clearly brings out the absolute worst in our base instinct not to be the one who misses out, so retailers who fuel the frenzy need to have clear action plans on how they will manage the crowds which descend on their stores.
No action plan? Sorry your fire sale day is cancelled.
There can be no repeat of the aggression which left many open-mouthed in disbelief.
Black Friday was a black day for us as a society.
Have we really reached the point where the chance of a cheap telly can spark a physical fistfight in the foyer of Asda or Tesco? Some people need a check up from the neck up.
A bargain is one thing, naked greed is something very different. And much, much darker.