Make the most out of this Black Friday – it might be the last bargain you'll get after Brexit

The fall in sterling has sharply increased the price of imported goods, but it hasn’t yet filtered through to the prices we’re paying in the shops

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The Independent Online

Currys slash prices on TVs, laptops and speakers! Amazon’s Thursday offers include 20 per cent off New Look plus Sony and Philips electronics! Morrisons is marking Black Friday with TEN DAYS of deals! 

Those are just a few of the headlines on the seasonal shopping event that we’ve all gone mad for even though “Black Friday” has no logical reason to exist in a country that has no Thanksgiving holiday weekend as the US (where it originated) does. 

By now we should also all have surely realised that many of the offers – perhaps including some of the ones referenced above, which were all culled from news websites – have to be taken with a pinch of salt. 

We should know they’re often not as good as they look. It’s often rather easy to find products that are the subject of unbeatable onetime-only Black Friday offers at Retailer A more cheaply at non-offer prices at Retailer B. But wouldn’t finding that out take some of the fun out of it?

The retailers know this. Their marketing departments are well aware that there’s no better way to get us opening our wallets than to make us thing we’re bagging a bargain.

This has actually been going on for years. It used to be known as the January sales, a properly British event. As the new year dawned the BBC would set up its cameras outside Harrods and Selfridges and then film the stampede that follow the opening of the doors. People would actually camp out overnight despite the usually grotty weather. 

And every year there would be a parade of consumers anxious to be filmed with their new TVs, or their speakers, or whatever other Sony or Philips electronics they’d bought. Sometimes some poor fool would get trampled, and they’d still be smiling from ear to ear when interviewed in front of the camera with their shiny new toys. 

Is it any wonder? Bagging a bargain produces a remarkably similar feeling to what you get from scoring a goal in football, or putting the ball through the hoop from distance in basketball, or lopping 10 or 15 seconds of your kilometre split when you go out for a run. Quite simply, it’s a rush. 

And it affects everyone. Even The New York Times has been running pieces on how to spot the best deals and avoid the duds. I’ll lay odds that some of its journalists have sneakily been looking at Amazon during office hours too. With Donald Trump to deal with, who’d begrudge their indulging in some retail therapy?

It’s superbly adapted for the web too. I have to tip my hat to Amazon. Its lightning deals are a thing of evil marketing genius. They limit the amount of product available and display a status bar to show how many are left. Once you’ve got your heart’s desire in your shopping basket you have 15 minutes to buy or it’s gone. So you’re not going to search around the web to see if you can find it cheaper. And you’re not going to cancel the order if it is afterwards. Why would you look? That would spoil the fun.

The best of it is, I’m a business journalist of 20 years standing. I know all this stuff. Yet I’m still fool enough to fall for it all myself. 

I’ve tried to be good and attempted to steer clear. This year, I will not be fooled, I say. But you know what, I’m bound to fail. Something is going to pop up in one of the ads while I’m researching a piece on the web. Maybe it will be a fancy box set of a classic album on vinyl. Maybe it will be a pair of miniature speakers for the turntable I’ve bought to play them. Or even just a natty Suicide Squad T-shirt. Thanks, cookies. 

Is there a Black Fridays Anonymous? There ought to be. Can I join please? 

At least I know that a lot more of this year’s deals will be worthwhile than they usually are. The fall in sterling has sharply increased the price of imported goods, but it hasn’t yet filtered through to the prices we’re paying in the shops. So enjoy the good times before Brexit kills then off. 

At least until next year. Love it or hate it, Black Friday will be back. It’s here to say. In the meantime, I’m sorry, but I’m just going to have to log on to Amazon to have a look at those lightning deals. Now, where’s my credit card? 

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