Icelanders Demand Better Black Friday Deals

The American bargain shopping holiday Black Friday has made inroads in Iceland in recent years, putting strain on the websites of Icelandic businesses and raising expectations of deeper discounts among local consumers, RÚV reports.

“There was a line outside this morning,” reported Bragi Þór Antoníusson, the marketing manager for the Elko electronics chain. “Or at least 30 to 40 people. We expect more traffic later today than there has been. There’s more strain on the website than ever before, and we think that as the day progresses, people will come here [to the store] to complete their purchases.”

When asked if people might be taking the day off work to take advantage of sales, Vilma Ýr Árnadóttir, the assistant sales manager of homes goods store Rúmfatalagerinn said she could believe it, based on how much was happening at the store on Friday. Police in the capital area also issued a warning that a high incident of theft was expected on Friday, and urged people not to leave any visible items of value in their cars. Doing so could “clearly tempt thieves,” they wrote on their Facebook page. “It’s not complicated.”

A casual survey of shoppers revealed that Icelanders had been paying attention to prices on coveted items to track how good a deal they were getting. But many shoppers were unimpressed by the prevailing discounts. “In most stores that you’re seeing, there’s most often a 15-25% discount,” remarked Katrín Alexsandra Helgudóttir. “If we’re going to have this Black Friday like in the United States, then I think that we can do a little better than that.”

Christmas Cat on the Prowl in Reykjavík

Iceland’s infamous Christmas Cat will be on the prowl in Reykjavík this year. According to an announcement made on the Miðbörg Reykjavíkur Facebook page, the creepy cat—who, per Icelandic Christmas lore, preys on children who don’t receive new clothes for the holiday—has been commemorated with a giant light-up statue that will stand in Lækjartorg in downtown Reykjavík throughout the holiday season.

The Christmas Cat was made famous in a 1932 poem by Icelandic poet Jóhannes úr Kötlum. Björk also recorded a popular version of the song in the late 1980s (listen here). This year, the fearsome feline’s likeness has been captured in a sculpture that is 5 meters [16 feet] tall and 6 meters [19 feet] wide and decorated with 6,500 LED lights.

City Council president Dóra Björt Guðjónsdóttir will light the Christmas Cat on Saturday at 4:00 PM, after which the Graduale Futuri children’s choir will sing Christmas carols. The cat’s owner, the giantess Grýla, and her husband Leppalúði will also be in attendance.