Black Friday does not exist in England. Or at least it didn’t. In a proud moment we got the chance to bear witness to the UK’s first ever Black Friday last, well, Friday. We saw police called in, fights breaking out between shoppers, and insane crowds on Oxford Street (and probably other places with sops too but I’m a very London-centric person and we may as well be talking about Mars as far as I’m concerned.)
I missed all of that because I was gnashing my teeth and staring at my computer screen. Herein follows a tale of woe.
I have a Christmas present to buy. It’s quite pricey, but myself and my sister are splitting the cost, so it’s not disastrous. But ever the opportunist, I thought ‘I wonder if I could get this a little bit cheaper on Black Friday’. This thought occurred to me roughly 10 minutes after I publicly stated my disapproval and intention to boycott.
No. I refuse to participate in #BlackFriday if I don't at least get the day before off work and the chance to decimate some natives first.
— Nicola Masters (@NicolaDawn) November 27, 2014
OK, ‘intention to boycot’ is too active a description. ‘Intention to not bother’ is more like it. Either way. Not only am I opportunistic, I’m also very hypocritical. So I accidentally had a look on a few websites. I wasn’t about to go to actual shops, because a) I hate people and all places where there might be people and b) I have a job that requires me to attend in the daytime and preferably minus black eyes sustained after getting in the way of angry mothers hunting down TVs. So. One of these websites had a stupid queuing system, so I let it tick over quietly in the background while searching every other place I could think of. I found nothing, because the thing I wanted in the first place wasn’t a huge TV (although, don’t get me wrong, I want one of those in my life more than I want children) with £200 knocked off the price that was suspiciously raised by £200 the week before.
So I sat, and I twiddled my thumbs, and I waited to be ‘let in’ to the site.
I went about my day. I ate my breakfast, answered some emails, and left it ticking away in the background. Twenty two minutes later I went back, expecting to have a minute left to wait.
I actually had a full minute more to wait than I had when I very first started waiting. Still, nine minutes later, my time had gone down considerably.
So all good. But then that stupid little man in the progress bar stopped walking. For ages, I watched the little man in the progress bar strolling merrily on his way to the land of discount electrical and household goods. And then he stopped. For nearly an hour he’d been like a hamster in an internet wheel – always moving, never getting anywhere. Until he decided it was fuck this shit o’clock, stopped, and just started staring at me from his bar of perpetual motion.
He stared at me for nearly ten minutes. Then, suddenly, began whistling and skipping on his merry way again. The only catch was that it was with more time to wait than ever before.
Fortunately, while he was staring at me and pondering, he managed to devise a way to bend time and space, because in five minutes we had less than ten minutes to go.
And then in another five minutes, he got me really very excited.
And lo, the wanderer did make it to the promised land.
A full hour and eight minutes after I was told I had twenty four minutes to wait, I finally made it. Did I find what I was looking for? No. Absolutely not. To be honest, it was a long shot in the first place, but I got stubborn and decided I couldn’t give up.
However, I learned a lesson that fateful day. If your heart is pure and your river of patience runs deep, you will make it where you want to go. As long as where you want to go is a land of discounted televisions and other assorted electrical items.
Who am I kidding? I want to go to there.
Did you do anything for Black Friday?