THE original plan was for this to be a curmudgeonly column where I took the moral high ground on the madness of Black Friday sales.

But, like so many things in my life, it hasn’t worked out that way. Because, as much as I’d love to declare myself above these tawdry shenanigans, I’m a sucker for a bargain.

This year, however, I fully intend to abstain. Yep, the same woman who, in a past Black Friday debacle, convinced herself that she absolutely needed/could-not-live-without a Minion-shaped instant camera (I have no idea what I was thinking either).

Other ill-advised purchases have included a bonsai tree kit (Mr Miyagi from The Karate Kid I am not) and everything from a foot spa to a pasta maker (both since donated – unopened – to a charity shop).

The Black Friday shtick is slyly clever, though. At first glance my email inbox gives the flattering impression of someone who is hugely popular. Take a closer look and it becomes apparent that the deluge of correspondence is almost entirely from retailers.

They share a common subject line, usually in block capitals (“MASSIVE BLACK FRIDAY SAVINGS!!!”) and are peppered with a sprinkling of attention-grabbing emojis depicting fiery explosions, emergency sirens and ringing alarm clocks.

I plan to delete them but inevitably something catches my eye and, before I know it, I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole. I find myself oddly mesmerised by cheap, bulk-buy cat litter (I don’t even own a cat), then it is on to super mops, candles, snow boots, oven gloves, noise-cancelling headphones, bird feeders and novelty socks.

I spend far too long browsing reusable water bottles – those gargantuan containers that you see people toting about everywhere like the hydration equivalent of comfort blankets or emotional support animals.

While Black Friday was once solely an American tradition, where stores would slash prices to rally Christmas shoppers the day after Thanksgiving, it has steadily become a staple of the festive build-up on this side of the Atlantic too.

I have only dipped a toe in Black Friday US-style once. And that was enough. When the department store manager at the Florida outlet mall unlocked the doors, it was akin to watching a land rush as the waiting hordes thundered inside.

You haven’t experienced sheer terror until you have witnessed an elderly man using his mobility scooter as a battering ram, almost taking out an entire display of discounted tellies.

What followed was a dystopian hellmash of Supermarket Sweep meets The Purge as fellow bargain hunters exhibited a steely-eyed ruthlessness that still sends a chill down my spine, not least the bloodthirsty melee that unfolded in the clamour for iPods (this was the early 2000s).

Online shopping is only mildly better. Granted, there are no sharpened elbows digging into your ribs, but you still have to endure social media braggers as they crow about managing to nab hot ticket items such as Ninja air fryers and Shark vacuum cleaners.

Black Friday is not for the lily-livered. Gird your loins.

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