Inside the Amazon Black Friday pop-up that isn’t a shop

Today is Black Friday. Until very recently in Britain that didn’t mean anything at all. We only knew about it as a violent, orgiastic display of capitalism from across the pond in which shoppers literally fought over getting a good deal on a microwave. Well, like it or not, it’s landed.

And bringing Black Friday in a way they hope will negate the images of angry shoppers stampeding each other to death is Amazon. As a delivery service they realise that their platform allows people to escape the kind of Black Friday bedlam we’re familiar with, but this comes with a drawback — you can’t try out the thing you want to purchase because it’s not physically there.

Enter Amazon’s pop-up “Home of Black Friday” which has sprung up in London. It’s technically a “shopping experience” rather than a shop, because while you can muck around with everything inside, you can’t take any of it home with you.

The pop-up is divided into different rooms of the home: kitchen, bedroom, playroom, games room etc. and filling these rooms are the kind of items you might find in them. Or at least the ones Amazon would like you to buy and put in them. 

Just your common-or-garden playroom.

Just your common-or-garden playroom.

Image: David Parry/PA Wire

Next to these items is a scannable barcode, which customers can use in conjunction with the Amazon app to order the item in question.

Easy peasy.

Easy peasy.

Image: Isobel hamilton/Mashable

There are also samplings, free manicures and events given by social media influencers and artisans who sell their wares via Amazon.

So what do people actually make of it? 

“I’m just interested in Amazon, when I was in Chicago I checked out their bookstore and so I like to see how they’re doing brick and mortar stores,” explained Matthew from Chicago, who said he came more for the experience than to actually buy anything.

Kat from London was less taken with the “shopping experience” and the use of QR codes. “It’s a bit kind of awkward,” she said. “It’s hard to shop here right? I don’t even know what deal I’m getting.” 

She’s also not enamoured of Black Friday finding its way into British culture.

“It kind of brings the whole Christmas thing a little bit early, I feel like we’re losing the festive period a bit, because it’s so drawn out,” she told Mashable. “And it’s this pressure that you can do better, that the best deal you’re gonna get is now, so then you have to do all of your shopping now,” 

Matthew on the other hand thinks that Black Friday coming to Britain is great. “The more deals the better,” he said.

If you fancy making your own mind up on the subject of British Black Friday the shop is open today from 12:30 – 7:30pm on Soho square.

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