Car after car snaked around the entrance to the retail park opposite Forestside near our home. Drivers looked tired and frustrated and I was equally so, since I just wanted to pick my kids up from school and had to sit through the red light three times in the snarled up queue.
I hate how this ‘Black Friday’ frenzy instills a sense of desperation and panic. My in-box has been filling up with all sorts of missives over the last few days. BUY NOW! OFFER ENDS SOON! HURRY UP! Feck that, I said, and organised a swap-shop with my friends. Ding-Dong went the bell at 8pm, and my triathlon ladies landed in, laden with toys and clothes and bric-a-brac. The cat wasn’t long legging it up the stairs when she heard the sound of craic arriving at full volume. Little heads peeked down over the bannister, eyeing up the
bags. We sipped bubbly with a splash of Chambord and surveyed the loot, before my utility room became the designated changing area and outfits were tried on and snapped up. One pal walked away with three dresses and a pair of matching shoes. There were jigsaws for children’s stockings and jewellery and cuddly toys. (I also made this feta cheese and honey dip of which I was EXTEMELY proud.)
‘What the hell is this Black Friday lark about anyway?’ we debated. Traditionally it was the Friday before Christmas when everyone got off work, went on the lash and decked all round them. I’m not sure this one’s much better with people bankrupting themselves over nonsense they don’t need. The BBC did at least report that Which? magazine showed that 9 out of 10 offers were no better than reductions throughout the year, should one care to look past the mania and do some research.
So, don’t succumb to the commercial hype. Ask your friends round, share your still-lovely cast-offs and have a raucous evening, oversharing details such as how your new menstrual cup got stuck and you had to sit on the bathroom floor googling videos of American women offering advice how to remove it. (That was me, obviously. Apart from the issues with extraction, I can totally recommend the Tulip Cup, by the way. I just need to get over myself.)
One word of advice is to put away all the stuff BEFORE your children descend upon it with gusto, as though Santa has made an early trip. ‘I’m definitely keeping this,’ said the Small Child, gripping a pink and white teddy round its neck, while wearing a dress and a t-shirt over her pyjamas.
Today the WhatsApp was still a-buzz with pictures of children in new clothes and playing board games. I’ll do a charity drop some time this week with what we didn’t swap and The Hospice Shop on the Ormeau will also benefit from the night’s craic. I can heartily recommend Green Friday everyone.