WHILE shops and police prepare for the Black Friday, several consumers do not appear persuaded to spend their money on the day of the shopping frenzy.
Black Friday is celebrated every year on the last Friday of November. The tradition began in the U.S. before it was spread across Europe, and signifies the beginning of the shopping season with most stores offering highly promoted sales and open very early in the morning to accommodate consumers.
In Cyprus, this institution was adopted in recent years and usually extends throughout the weekend, with shops offering a smaller discount to customers.
Head of traffic police Yiannakis Georgiou told the Cyprus Mail, “We are expecting a lot of traffic and we gave instructions to all units,” noting that Nicosia Mall asked for four police officers to be on duty throughout the day.
“Unfortunately, we cannot provide our services to all companies and shops, they need to take measures for this busy day themselves,” Georgiou said, adding that the Mall of Cyprus did not come in contact with them.
“We are asking drivers to be patient and understanding. Surely there will be traffic jams and delays.”
Shopping malls around Cyprus as well as stores along popular retail streets are bracing for the day with promotion stickers in their windows and others informed their customers with text messages.
“Some shops started offering discounts from the beginning of this week,” said Irine Mitsinga, 75, who owns a shoe shop in Ledra street.
Mitsinga said this is the first time the shop was offering discounts on Black Friday. “We put 30 percent off on some items because last years’ customers were asking for a sale,” she said.
Katerina Papademetriou, the 58-year-old owner of a jewellery shop in the old town of Nicosia said she will offer a small discount. “Our prices are low throughout the year, but we will be more generous on the day.”
Consumers around Nicosia seem to have a different perspective of the Black Friday sales, with some convinced that the tradition is not properly applied in Cyprus and stores offer very small discounts or trick customers.
Stavria Kyprianou, 17, said “they only put a 20 per cent discount and usually they hide the original prices which might actually be lower than the discounted price.” Her friend Fotis Frangou, also 17, said: “they put the prices up and then they pretend items are on offer”. Both said they will not be shopping on the day.
“They are tricking us, we will not shop on Friday,” said Nikos Argyrou, 22, while 28-year-old Maria Mahaira said, “In Cyprus it is not worth it”.
Spyros Hadjinicolaou, 50, also seems to share their opinion as he said, “I am not interested, there are no good offers anyway.”
“We shopped last year and we regretted it,” said a couple in their 20s and they explained that stores hike prices days before and pretend they are offering cheaper items on Black Friday.
“I wasn’t planning on shopping anything, I never have since Black Friday was introduced in Cyprus, because I don’t think the offers are that great. I wouldn’t want to be stuck in traffic for hours just to buy something I might really not need in the end,” admitted Marianna Charalambous, 35.
“Don’t believe this marketing scam, we own so many material things already, people need to live more independently and lose connection with earthly possessions,” said 30-year-old Emily Nicolaou.
Consumers who do not want to be stuck in traffic, however, can take advantage of “Cyber Monday”, invented in 2005 when shopkeepers discovered many people prefer the comfort of their own couch. “Cyber Monday” is the equivalent of “Black Friday” but offers people the choice to shop online the next Monday.