Black Friday and, with all the sincerity I can muster, I wish you guys the best of luck with it.

It might seem to have been going on for weeks but today is the proper one. Unless you’re a Saturday CN reader – in which case, you missed it.

Fear not. Cyber Monday is only a heartbeat away. Shopaholic addictions can yet be met – if you’re not careful.

These two events are traditional dates on the seasonal calendar. They come from America... doesn’t everything now?

Tradition dictates we should fight to buy stuff we never knew we needed, with money we probably don’t have and then, on getting the purchases home, realise why we never needed them.

It’s fun! The trick is – or so I’m told – to think not of what you’ve spent but of what you’ve saved. That’s American too. Word has it they’ve been saving up for the NHS for weeks.

I’ve been in the Black Friday rush. Only once, mind and that was by accident. Should have checked the calendar before setting out for the big shop.

Having been swept up in a wave of enthusiasm, I returned home with a set of screwdrivers, a pressure cooker and two tablecloths – none of which have seen the light of day since. Happily, the bruises didn’t last long. Don’t get me wrong. No disparagement is intended. I have hearty admiration for folks who are so fully committed to bargain hunting that they’ll risk life and limb for a cheap telly or vacuum cleaner.

It’s well understood that retailers need to capitalise on every available opportunity at this time of year, when profits tend to make up – a bit – for meagre takings at other times. But, dear me! That one experience still tells me it’s not an exercise for the faint-hearted.

Learning this week that there are people who hire themselves out to camp overnight on pavements, saving places for eager Black Friday spenders wanting an early start, a couple of thoughts occurred.

One: Not in Carlisle, I bet. Two: There’s money to be made in every niche market, if you’re entrepreneurial enough.

I confess to having had a bit of a mooch around what was on discounted offer. Well, old shopping habits die hard and you never know...

Nope, nothing off the gas bill; no savings on any necessary utilities, in fact; nowt going council tax wise. But should I want a reduction on a £500 hairdryer or a rotary tool that – actually, I still don’t know what it does – Bob’s my uncle.

Incidentally, does anyone ever pay £500 for a hairdryer? I suppose they must. You live and learn, eh?

Suffice to say, while shunning the Black Friday stampede, I’m trying hard to resist the urge to save, while cyber-spending. It isn’t easy since younger days, when shopping was such a joy, are still remembered fondly.

Enjoying a glass of red (OK, maybe two) with my sausage and mash the other night, it seems I might have been tempted rather too readily into the online world of special offers.

“Are those for me?” I asked when two cases of mixed Italian vino arrived a couple of days later.

“It says so here,” said the nice man, who must have seen such episodes of confusion umpteen times.

There’s the lesson – or one of them - for Cyber Monday. Don’t drink and click.

Other lessons are available. Supporting local retailers all year round makes more sense than being herded into a seasonal (American) rush for not-to-be-missed savings. It tends to keep local shops open, for a start and rewards those who serve local communities. Win, win.

But, if your winter traditions simply must include a smash and grab sales rush, my wishes for luck and enjoyment go with you. Who knows what you might pick up? My friend bought a spaghetti making machine last year. Still in the box at the back of a cupboard, of course. But it was cheap.

Have fun, keep safe, it’ll soon be over and the January sales will start on Christmas eve.

If I could offer one nugget of advice though. No hairdryer is worth £500 - nor even £300 in the sale. Happy shopping.