Black Friday mania sweeps into Botswana

22nd November 2017
SHOPPING ANXIETY: Black Friday frenzy expected to hit Gaborone this week Source:The Midweek Sun


By Keletso Thobega -

On Friday, scores of shoppers will flock select stores for special and discount deals on a range of products on sale, during what has come to be known as Black Friday. Locally, stores such as Sefalana, Choppies, Mr Price, Checkers, Shoprite, Game and Options, among others, often close as late as 8 or 10pm in the evening on Black Friday, and offer a host of discounts between 20 and 50 percent on a while stocks last basis.

This Friday, it is likely to be mayhem at the shops as several of the abovementioned stores have promised extended shopping hours and several special deals, discounts and “giveaway prices” on goods from household items, groceries, clothes and shoes. It will be pretty much a big sale before the festive sale in consumer land. Considering that it will be pay day for most workers, stores are likely to make a killing, as budgets are likely to be thrown out of the window out of wanton spending. The temptation is a struggle, even for the most “disciplined shopper. Efforts to solicit comment from the stores that have promised Black Friday sales hit a snag, as they directed this publication to the posters and said it was a sale just like other stores sales.

But what exactly is this ‘Black Friday’? Black Friday was adopted from America. Historically, it is an informal name for the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, which has been regarded as the beginning of the country’s Christmas shopping season since 1952. On Black Friday, most major retailers open very early (and overnight) offering vast promotional sales. Black Friday is very “Black” Although it is an American initiative, Black Friday has made its way to Africa, and is now trickling into Botswana where the vogue consumers have lapped up to it.

But critics have rubbished Black Friday as a vague American tradition that has no place in African communities. Some claim that it is another ploy to sponge the last cent from consumers under the pretext of a sale. Furthermore, some quarters of society perceive Black Friday as derogatory. Muslims for example don’t appreciate this day, as Friday is an important day in Islamic cultures as a blessed day. In neighbouring South Africa, where Black Friday has gained huge traction and is a big deal to the point that some consumers spend the night at malls to be first in line when the stores open, several social commentators and media personalities have slammed the initiative as a modus operandi to keep Africans at the bottom of the economic hierarchy, by making consumers and not producers and indirectly robbing them of their hard earned money.

Controversial DJ Euphonik recently tweeted: ‘Notice how there is no Black Friday for share options, property, loans and mortgages? Issa trap! All the sh** you should be putting your money into won’t be on sale or available cheaper. Produce, don’t consume!’ The tweet received nearly 10,000 shares and re-tweets.

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