If the thought of battling shoppers for so-called bargains on the high street fills you with dread, why not spend Black Friday in a suitably named bar instead.
Over the years our cousins across the pond have brought the world such marvels as crisps, toilet paper and jelly beans, and their latest gift to us is the shopper meltdown that is Black Friday. The day after Americans celebrate Thanksgiving has become a worldwide excuse to seek out bargains (before doing so all over again on Boxing Day and in the New Year sales).
The origins of this festival of consumerism are not entirely clear. The phrase seems to date back to the 1950s and its use by the authorities in Philadelphia to describe the heavier-than-usual traffic they would encounter on the day after Thanksgiving, and this became over time the accepted phrase to define the start of the Christmas shopping season. So Philadelphia can now add Black Friday to its list of recent accomplishments, alongside spreadable cheese and the scene of the original Rocky training montage.
Indeed, these days it’s necessary to possess the physique and strength of the 1970s Rocky to thrive in the battle for bargains on the high street. We’ve all seen the footage of throngs of people pushing and shoving each other for the ‘right’ to buy a discounted television, and there have been reports of related injuries and even deaths in some countries.
Not content with turning the high street into a battle zone, the fight has gone online in recent years, with Amazon, Argos, Currys and even the dragon-bothering John Lewis soliciting aggressively for your disposable income.
All of which will be music to the ears of some, but we at useyourlocal prefer our consumption to be of the digestible form. So we used our extensive database of the UK’s pubs and bars (which, by the way, is the best there is) to put together a list of ‘alternative’ Black Friday establishments: in other words, hostelries that can claim a fleeting association of sorts with this shopping bonanza.
You’ll find the list on our website. It features a Big Shop and a Deal Cutter and even a Closed Shop. Alternatively you can abide by the old adage and go in for the New Penny and then for the Pound (Inn). If you’re feeling agricultural, head to the Farmers Arms or the Grain & Hop Store; if two-wheeled transport’s your thing, we’ve got an Old Bicycle Shop; and if you’re really just a big kid at heart the Toy Shop is the one for you. You’ll even find a Sale (Conservative Club) if you really want one.
So which will it be, elbows in the ribs amid throngs of discount-hunters, or a drink or two in a nice warm bar while contemplating nobler pursuits? We love pubs at useyourlocal, so our choice is an easy one: we’ll be taking it all in with a pint – of the black stuff, naturally.