Civilised antidote to sales day

Richard Welsh of Rhyme and Reason.
Richard Welsh of Rhyme and Reason.

Shoppers put off by the prospect of another hectic round of Black Friday bargain-hunting are being encouraged to browse and buy at a more relaxed pace this weekend.

People in Britain are expected to spend nearly £3.5 billion on reduced-price items over four days starting from tomorrow (Friday).

But, the next day, independent bookshops across the country are teaming up to host Civilised Saturday, which promises ‘civilised shopping, great books, great people and great Christmas gifts’.

In many locations wine, canapés, cake and cocktails will be served to visitors.

The initiative, organised by The Booksellers Association, is part of a campaign called Books Are My Bag, and is intended as an antidote to the frenzied atmosphere which has developed around Black Friday, a phenomenon which has spread rapidly to the UK from the United States.

In Sheffield, Rhyme and Reason at Hunters Bar will be taking part on Saturday.

Hospitality is limited by the size of the shop, but children will be invited to join a party themed around the book ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea’, and take part in a ladybird-spotting game.

The latter activity is inspired by an event the shop is organising on Friday at Broomhill Library with Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Lydia Monks about their new book, What the Ladybird Heard Next.

Richard Welsh, Rhyme and Reason’s owner, said it proved Black Friday was not ‘the be all and end all’.

“Civilised Saturday is more in keeping with the ethos of bookshops,” he said.

“It’s just to make a point about how bookshops are perhaps a little bit different from big stores, where people tend to go a bit mad. It will provide a bit of calm.”

He added: “Black Friday seems to be an example of cut-throat competition between retailers. It doesn’t really have relevance in this country, it’s weeks before Christmas and we don’t have Thanksgiving.”

Richard said shops such as Rhyme and Reason allow customers to ‘find things naturally.”

“Members of our staff team do their best to help customers of all ages find books which they will enjoy. This may involve helping customers find their favourite books and authors or offering recommendations based on customers’ ages or interests.”