It’s always struck me as somewhat bizarre that, in recent years, Black Friday sales have become increasingly popular in the UK. After all, it’s not like we’ve embraced the family-and-food fest of Thanksgiving which precedes it. Nevertheless, the sales seem to be here to stay, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t taken advantage of the odd offer or two in my time! 😉
So here’s a topical snippet from Counter Culture, my department-store-set rom-com, with our hero Robin and his colleague Azrah in an end-of-day staff meeting with their manager, Gail:
“Now, as you know, we’re holding a Black Friday sale this year to compete with online retailers. Profits this quarter . . .”
With the best will in the world, Robin couldn’t stop his tired brain from zoning out as she recited a list of numbers in excruciating detail. He started to nod off on his feet, waking up with a jerk when Gail slapped a file down on her desk.
Azrah raised her hand. “Yeah, I got one. Why are we even having a Black Friday sale? It’s an American thing—nothing to do with us.”
Gail gave her a look like she’d just announced that she had ideological objections to selling stuff. “Coca Cola is an American thing, Azrah, but you didn’t seem to have any problem with keeping a can behind the counter in blatant violation of store policy.
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Customer service has never been this personal.
Robin Christopher, beleaguered retail worker, isn’t having an easy November. His boss is raising stress levels planning a Black Friday to end all Black Fridays, his family doesn’t understand him, and his best friend thinks his new crush is a hallucination brought on by watching too many episodes of Doctor Who.
Archie Levine dresses in Victorian style and divides his time between caring for his young son and creating weird and wacky steampunk gadgets from bits of old junk—when he’s not looking after his mum and trying to keep on good terms with his ex. The last thing he’s got time for is a relationship, but the flustered young man he met while disembowelling a fridge is proving very tempting.
When his mum’s social conscience is roused by a local store with a cavalier attitude to the homeless, former rough sleeper Archie shares her anger. Little does he know that Robin works for that same store. When Archie finds out he’s sleeping with the enemy, things could cut up very rough indeed.