Black Friday 2018: a cold, misty and lonely 5am start at Tesco

Black Friday has been associated with crowds of bargain-hunters jostling to secure the best cut-price items. At Tesco Extra in Surrey Quays, south-east London, things started more sedately on a cold and misty November morning.

Staff at the Tesco, one of more than 700 holding Black Friday sales across the country, unlocked the giant store at 5am, an hour earlier than usual. They easily outnumbered the seven people waiting outside.

Brendan Boshell, a 26-year-old working at a small start-up, was the first outside, hoping to snap up a bargain Xbox One games console.

“I’m quite surprised I’m the only one,” he says, after reading about fights for products . In the past, police waited at different stores during the Black Friday sales.

Michael, a 24-year-old student, says he decided to attend the sales for the first time because he needed to buy a television – 50-inch if possible – but had struggled to find good deals online.

“I’d like a name-brand TV – something a bit known,” he says, waiting for the store to open.

Dash Sivarasa, 31, and Fathema Malika, 21, had done their homework before they arrived. The couple were looking for a 40-inch Sharp HD TV, which they expected to snap up for £179 – a saving of £100.

“You can order it online, but I don’t know how that works on Black Friday,” says Dash. “You can order; but will you get it?”

Inside the store, opened at 5am on the dot, most activity was focused on restocking shelves, just like any other day, but piles of TVs near the entrance were the most visible sign of Black Friday offers – the US imported marketing idea which actually run until Monday.

Despite the deals on offer, Black Friday has been quiet for the last few years, one employee said. Nevertheless, those shoppers who braved the cold got what they came for – and more, in some cases.

Dash and Fathema changed their mind when they saw the products on offer, choosing the Toshiba 4K model. “It’s better, isn’t it?” says Dash, before heading to the tills.

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