Just like Halloween and American football, Black Friday is the latest US import to divide opinion here in the UK. Unsightly scenes of shoppers pushing, shoving and shouting are likely to dominate front pages across the world today, as retailers slash product prices to set the tills ringing. Quite how all of this fits into British consumer culture, however, is still a matter of debate.

Traditionally, UK businesses do their heavy discounting on Boxing Day in an attempt to shift unsold Christmas stock. A large part of its success depends on creating excitement in the run-up to the sales, so will having two such days within four weeks really work? Consumers rightly tend to be wary of constantly fluctuating prices, and Black Friday setting the bar so low may leave a bad taste in the mouth of shoppers about to endure the most costly month of the year.

Last year a group of retailers signed a letter highlighting their concerns over the event, but this seems to have fallen on deaf ears.  In response to Black Friday’s growing popularity, some firms have been purchasing extra stock to meet demand, whilst others are simply ignoring the day as it disrupts their current purchasing, discounting and sales models. Some discounts being offered are so large that businesses will be looking at margins so small they may be left wondering whether it’s all worth it. After all, the police have advised many firms that they must provide their own extra security to deal with the footfall – yet another expense in what can be a trying couple of months for companies up and down the country.

Alibaba’s successful attempt to claim China’s ‘Singles Day’ as its own shows how powerful an event like Black Friday can be. But trying to shoehorn the commercial without the cultural into a new country may prove trickier. Black Friday, after all, falls a day after Thanksgiving, an integral part of the American cultural calendar, lending it an extra significance to consumers stateside.

Despite all of this, British shoppers seem to be taking to the event, albeit with less alacrity than their American cousins. Retailers, though, may now have to bow to that famous adage which makes US customer service the best anywhere in the world: the customer is always right.

Now that similar levels of expectation have reached these shores, it is up to suppliers to meet demand. Some may view it as a commercial war of attrition, an unnecessary distraction during one of the most important times of the year, but Black Friday is here to stay. Whether shops and shoppers take part remains a divisive issue in the UK, and they will have to decide individually whether it works for them. But, clearly, there is still some way to go before Britain figures out how to really make the most of this new consumer craze.