It is meant to be the biggest shopping day of the year with experts predicting bumper sales both in stores and online.
But stores promoting Black Friday have faced a backlash from Scots shoppers branding the day – the start of the Christmas shopping season – as “consumer nonsense” and a “rip off”.
Buchanan Galleries received dozens of responses to a tweet asking what its followers were planning to do on Black Friday – which falls at the end of this week – with none of them complimentary about the annual event which sees retailers on the high street and online slash their prices to attract shoppers.
“I’m going to watch YouTubes of people punching each other over toasters and pray for the end of broken consumerist culture,” said Twitter user Cameron Mitchell.
“Probably sit in with a beer in my hand and despair at what humanity has become,” responded Stuart Wilson.
It has been predicted that this year will see more spent on Black Friday than ever before, with Visa today claiming that a total of £1.7 billion will be spent on its cards on Friday alone. Online spending on Black Friday is expected to be up 17 per cent on last year with face to face spending due to rise by four per cent compared to last year, the card provider said.
Black Friday originated in the US, when consumers start their Christmas shopping in earnest during the holiday weekend after Thanksgiving, which is celebrated on Thursday. It is only in recent years that it has been adopted on this side of the Atlantic.
Other critics pointed to the fact that Black Friday is an American tradition.
One man, Paul Gaught, asked: “As you are making a big deal of #BlackFriday are you giving your staff #Thanksgiving off?”
There has been growing opposition to the day, with independent bookshops signing up to stage an alternative “Civilised Saturday” with tea and cake as an antidote to the retail scrum.
Police Scotland has issued a warning to shoppers to “refrain from antisocial behaviour” amid fears that officers could be faced with a replay of last year’s Black Friday, when scuffles broke out among shoppers queuing for Black Friday bargains at Tesco stores in Dundee and Pollok.
Superintendent Graeme Murdoch said last year’s event had seen chaotic scenes across the country and warned that shoppers should “take stock of their own behaviour whilst inside and outside of stores during the sales this year.” He said: “I am sure that many of us were fairly surprised at some of the scenes and behaviour we saw reported in the media.
“We have being working closely with retail stores to support them in preparing for any antisocial and criminal behaviour and we will also have additional resources in place to deal with any outbreaks of disorder. Officers will attend shops if necessary in order to keep the peace and deal with disorder.”
Consumer experts warned that Black Friday deals may seem better than reality.
Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: “The majority of Black Friday deals aren’t special. All that’s happened in recent years is the codes and vouchers retailers previously offered in November and December were concertined into one long extended deals weekend.
“There are of course the much-hyped huge discounts of single items like giant TVs. Yet the stock on these is so limited, they’re far more akin to competitions than offers.”