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Black Friday in Germany

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Date17 Nov 2021

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Black Friday is originally a US holiday that falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year it is 26th of Nov, 2021, in the next years 25th of Nov, 2022 and 24th of Nov, 2023. This Friday kicks off the Christmas shopping season, as many have that day off and Christmas is the next upcoming holiday. Usually, Black Friday attracts shoppers with hefty discounts on electronics, clothing, entertainment and much more. Not only in shops, but also online, Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) is now extended to several days. For retailers and online traders, these days are a first indicator for the Christmas business this year.

Black Friday has nothing to do with German culture. But since the 2000s, it has become increasingly popular in Germany. So if you live in Germany and are saving up for a new winter jacket or a new laptop, Black Friday could be just the thing for you. Because the discounts can make a big difference, especially on electronics, if you're short on cash. However, don't be blinded by the glowing discount promises. Realistically, you'll get discounts of 10-20% on Black Friday. Discounts of over 50% are often artificially inflated.

In German we have the saying: "Es ist nicht alles gold, was glänzt" (not everything that shines is gold). On second glance, this also applies to Black Friday. Through lavish and impressive advertising campaigns, we are supposed to be persuaded that we need all these shiny things. The buying frenzy into which the discounts are supposed to put us is like any other frenzy. Once it's over, we wonder why.

The critique of Black Friday is a critique of the system and questions mindless consumption under capitalism. This critique first found expression in Buy Nothing Day, which the artist Ted Dave established in 1992 as a response to Black Friday in Canada. The aim of this protest is to draw attention to the exploitative production and trade strategies of large corporations. While crowds of people squeeze through half-opened doors on Black Friday and brace themselves for the battle for the best bargains, the protest encourages people to reflect on their own consumer behaviour. It aims to create awareness for the really important things in life.

As a prelude to the Christmas season, which is originally about contemplation and community, Black Friday encourages the opposite behaviour. Can seemingly new things improve or even replace human relationships? How long do the feelings of happiness from having made a bargain last and how long do we draw on memories of beautiful moments with loved ones?

These questions can serve as inspiration to look at Black Friday with different eyes this year. We wish you a wonderful Black Friday, Buy Nothing Day or just a normal Friday! Feel free to send us your questions at [email protected] or in the comment section below!

Written by: Tanja Holbe

Cover Photo Credit: created with Canva

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