Visa customers are expected to spend £1 million every three minutes in Britain on Black Friday this week. The day between Thanksgiving Day and the weekend, Black Friday is an unofficial holiday in America where retailers have propagated a consumer frenzy through the promotion of heavy discounts.
The day should not be confused with Black Monday (when the World stock market crashed in October 1987), Black Wednesday (when dramatic currency trading caused the British Government to withdraw Sterling from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992), Black Thursday (when bush fires swept across Victoria, Australia, killing twelve people and more than a million sheep in 1851) – or even Black Eye Friday (when most of the men and some of the women, working in the trades in Cartmel, take the afternoon off and head to the pub during the week before Christmas).
This relatively new tradition (Black Friday – not the drink-fuelled festive celebrations in Cartmel) has been exported to the UK by cynical traders who have pedalled the myth that envious domestic customers must have noticed the online discounts available across the Atlantic and demanded a slice of the action. The whole thing is clearly a ruse to get us to spend our money early, before forgetting the pain and then going out with our credit cards again later in December.
It won’t work. According to a survey published by MoneySupermarket.com, we’ve already decided how much money we’re going to spend on Christmas – that’s an average of £445 per person nationally and £490 per person in the North West. I always knew that the good people of Cumbria were unusually generous.
By the way, in case you were wondering, I’m especially fond of fine wine, dark chocolate and nice biscuits. I’m not really a gadget person – I can’t see the point of those special cork-screws that make it easier to put the cork back in the bottle. I like DVDs but I’m not interested in Les Miserables – it doesn’t sound very jolly (the clue is in the title).
At this point I should like to remind everyone that tickets for Cartmel races make a splendid gift: vouchers can be purchased from the racecourse office, redeemable against any fixture next year. Simply call the racecourse office before 15th December to avoid disappointment.
According to my calculations, a £55 bet on Fingal Bay in Saturday’s Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury could be enough to fund the average Christmas spend. Being particularly stingy, my demands are less exuberant and my typical stake of £2.50 each-way should be sufficient to generate the required funds. If you fancy attempting a big win from a small stake, you could try a Newbury treble including Fingal Bay, Jumps Road and this week’s selection: Tony Star.