We all like to grab a bargain. But this week across the UK, shoppers got more than just cheap deals at Black Friday sales.
There were huge, uncontrollable crowds. In Manchester, one woman broke her wrist in a shopping crush. Another, a woman in a wheelchair, had a TV dropped on her. In several places, shopping staff have been threatened, and even assaulted. Arrests have been made across the country.
Although the November sales day in America is known for being chaotic and dangerous, Black Friday has never really crossed the pond. But in recent years, UK companies such as Tesco, Asda, and Argos have begun to hold sales on this day, in order to cash in.
In short, they create the crowds outside their shops, and are of course completely aware of the chaos and violence that is likely to ensue. It is hugely irresponsible and simply immoral of these powerful companies to have Black Friday 'MIDNIGHT SALES' and 'EXCLUSIVE BLACK FRIDAY DEALS' like this, knowing that they are essentially inciting riots across the country for their discounted products.
The most notable of the reported violent incidents and police activity took place in Tesco stores. Given Tesco's recent profit scandal, when it emerged that the company's value had been overstated by £2billion, this makes quite an interesting coincidence - Tesco's sales tactics are clearly now to sell, sell, sell, no matter how irresponsibly. Additionally, many have criticised Tesco's lack of security, particularly in Greater Manchester where 7 Tesco stores required police presence - all at the cost of the taxpayer, no doubt.
So what can we glean from this year's Black Friday madness?
Huge companies like Tesco and Asda should not be able to escape blame for causing these sales riots. We need to examine the way they treat their consumers.
Almost none of the Black Friday new coverage has criticised the retailers themselves, for organising these violent and potentially dangerous events. It is time they were held to account. At the very least, they should pay for the police presence, the cost of any cleanup operations and any injury to shoppers caused by their irresponsibility.