Black Friday seemed to be no more than a blip on the radar this year for a lot of people. For me certainly. In 2020, of course, it pretty much didn’t exist. The pandemic saw to that. But since many, many people seem to believe that the Covid crisis is now over, and with so many places open for shopping as usual except for mask requirements, I wondered if Black Friday would rear its ugly pre-pandemic head again. Or not.

And based on the articles I read today, it seems all is not business as usual.

According to this article in The Washington Post, Black Friday was disappointing to many of the shoppers who were still willing to get up before dawn and brave the line-ups. The article went on to say that although many shoppers who did venture out on Friday liked the shorter line-ups, they weren’t bowled over by the deals. And retailers said that crowds were nothing like the pre-pandemic days.

But lest we take hope from that, thinking the days of autumnal consumer frenzy are numbered, the article went on to say that shoppers who stayed home merely shopped on-line. Some started their Christmas shopping in October. And one woman who listened to retailers who told her to do her on-line ordering early, and has already finished her Christmas shopping, says: “And now I’m done, sitting here twiddling my thumbs and trying not to buy more.”

And then there was this.

A local news reporter in Texas chatted to two women at a mall who seemed disappointed that shopping on Friday was like any other “normal” shopping day, with no “pushing and shoving.” This mother and daughter said that braving the Black Friday crowds to scoop up deals was part of their family Thanksgiving tradition. The reporter added that she found Black Friday shopping heartwarming because families shopped together. And one of the women she was chatting with said she was heading home to pick up her granddaughter to give her some Black Friday shopping experience.

I should add that the two women thought it was good the stores were closed all day Thursday this year. That they had not needed to head out shopping on Thanksgiving Day evening, after the Thanksgiving meal clean-up. And they were glad that retail workers no longer had to work on the holiday.

But still. So many things about this brief interview were disturbing to me. I won’t belabour it. You can watch it for yourself here.

First snowfall of 2021.

In other news, I spent my Black Friday sipping tea and eating scones and sandwiches with my buddies at a friend’s house. We had a lovely afternoon. And when we left it was snowing hard. No shopping was done by any of us.

This is what I wore to my Friday event. The grey Artizia sweater dress that I bought last winter. I was excited to finally wear it somewhere that was not my sun room. I bought this dress last January in an accidental haul; I’d ordered a skirt and two dresses on-line, thinking I’d keep one and instead kept all three pieces. I wrote about that in a post last winter which you can read here if you’re interested.

The skirt and this dress are why I bought my new tall black boots from Brown’s earlier in the fall. The boots, my Vince turtleneck, and my black down coat were the three things on my shopping wish list this season. I’m pleased that they work well with so many other pieces in my closet. But, black boots, black turtleneck, black coat… how big a leap is it to expect that they will go with everything?

Finally wearing my Aritzia sweater dress.

The dress looks good with my AllSaints cross-body bag, I think. I’m wearing a vintage brooch that I bought when Liz and I were walking around Merrickville a week or so ago. I found it in the little “collectibles’ shop where the poor owner was freezing despite her propane heater. It was only five dollars. The clasp is a little loose, and I noticed a couple of the tiny rhinestones have fallen out, but I have plans for this brooch. Hubby is very adept with the glue. He can repair the clasp, and I might check out the dollar store for some shiny bits to replace the rhinestones.

Off for afternoon tea.

This is what I wore to my other “event” last week. I met a friend at our local bistro here in Manotick for a glass of wine (or two), a meal, and a very fulsome chat on the state of education, among other things.

My new boots go with way more in my closet than the dress and skirt for which they were intended. I’ve been wearing them with my black leggings a lot in the past few weeks. Black boots, black leggings and black blazer; black boots, black leggings and long grey sweater.

And here with my Akris burgundy cashmere turtleneck, much sought after a few years ago, and finally found at Nordstrom for a price quite a bit more than I’d intended to pay. Back in 2017, this piece was an investment. But I take good care of it. And, you know, this is a purchase which I have never second-guessed. Not once. I love this sweater.

For this outing I added my Uniqlo ultra-light down vest, and my old Marc Jacobs bag.

And before I forget. This is my new black down coat. Bought from Aritzia a couple of months ago. It’s ultra light. In fact Aritzia calls it a “foundation puffer.” So it can fit under other coats if I want. And like my Uniqlo jacket and vest, it scrunches into a tiny pocket for easy packing.

Neither of these outfits are particularly edgy. Or uber chic. But they suited me. And I felt pulled together and happy wearing them. The boots and the coat are new this season. The dress is from last year, although up to now I’ve only worn it on the blog, since lock-downs precluded parties or dinner dates last winter. The rest of the pieces are from three to six years old. Which is relatively new in my closet, considering I’ve jackets from the last century. Ha.

Someone looks smug tonight.

So Black Friday was merely a blip on my radar, and on the radar of my friends. I’d never even heard of Black Friday until a few years ago. Now it seems to be everywhere. And, up here, it’s not connected to Thanksgiving, which we celebrate in October. I didn’t go searching for deals on Black Friday. Then again, I never do. And I am saving what Christmas shopping I’ll be doing, except for one gift already purchased for Hubby, for when I am in Fredericton. My old friend Debbie and I plan to do a bit of shopping together and have a long chatty lunch afterward.

I’ve never really understood the frenzy that can accompany the promise of fantastic deals. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve bought lots of things on sale over the years. For a couple of years I was a regular at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in July. But I’ve never braved crowds and line-ups to do so. Or understood all the hype.

I felt bad reading about some of the parents shopping for their kids’ Christmas gifts on Black Friday only to be disappointed at not being able to find what they wanted. I don’t know what the answer to that issue is. Shop early and pay full price? Buy less? Buy what you can afford? I’ve never had to manage a child’s expectations so I’m not qualified to comment on that.

And as for whether or not the pandemic has wrought an overnight conversion of thought about over-consumption. Well, the jury’s still out on that one.

A recent article on FastCompany.com which looks at whether the pandemic changed our views of conspicuous consumption, said that during lockdown “many people who [had] been working at home, surrounded by stuff, [realized] that they already own too much.” And global surveys showed that, going forward, people intended to buy less, and buy better quality, and otherwise change their shopping ways. The researchers also qualified these findings by saying that there’s often a “large intention and action gap with consumers.” So I guess we say one thing in a survey, and do another when the Black Friday sales roll around.

Or maybe that’s just me being cynical.

But, you know, cynical is not my normal state. So I prefer to focus, not on the plethora of Black Friday ads in my IG feed. But instead on the many posts which expressed anti-Black-Friday sentiments, the admonishments to stop shopping, shop local, shop used and vintage. And the Vivienne Westwood quotes. Like this one: Buy Less. Choose well. Make it last. I was heartened by these.

But as I said to a friend yesterday, maybe all those posts say more about who I follow on IG than anything else. Still.

I was reading an essay by Leandra Medine Cohen the other day. Precipitated by a conversation with a stylish friend who, when complimented on it, said her skirt was four years old, Medine Cohen wondered if wearing this season’s fashions is now old hat. And maybe the “recently old, is the new new.” That maybe “bragging about the age of your clothing [is] the new sale-bragging.” Ha. I like that idea. Maybe not the bragging part exactly. But the idea that we are mature enough to want to share the provenance of our clothes. That not everything we are excited to wear needs to be new. That we want to wear clothes with a bit of history.

And history is, of course, not something that you can line up for at a Black Friday sale, and buy off the shelf or rack. Unless you’re lining up at the vintage store.

Now, wouldn’t that be a whole other kind of Black Friday?

P.S. I am heading down east on Wednesday to stay with my Mum for a while. So, I won’t be posting again until next weekend. See you then. 🙂

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49 thoughts on “Black Friday: Just a Blip on the Radar?”

  1. I bought something online on Black Friday by accident. I’d chosen a few gifts and left them in my online cart and then forgot about them. When I went back to the online store I was surprised and pleased to see the sale prices as I’d forgotten completely about Black Friday. I actually needed a moment to realize why they were on sale.
    It may actually be the first time I have bought anything on that day. Obviously not my usual habit. Boxing Day sales leave me cold as well. I’m “crowd adverse” and this year have had things sell out online while I’m still shopping on the site. It’s all too much pressure. 😂
    Say hi to your Mum and Deb for me please.

  2. Ah Black Friday , we look forward to it all year . Seriously the company that impressed me this year was Aigle , a French firm , who sent me a mail saying their business would not be operating on Black Friday as a matter of principle . Classy . Not much Christmas shopping going on here . All the children I buy for receive a mound of presents every year so I’m trying something different . The Oxfam charity sell cards saying you have made donations in their name which pays for goats , water pumps even village toilets for disadvantaged communities around the world . I’m not sure how it will go down but there might be a budding Greta Thunberg amongst them who thinks it’s a good idea .
    We have snow here too – even more than you . It’s thanks to Storm Arwen , which has been whipping through here for the last couple of days knocking down trees. & playing havoc with the garden . It was the little girl next door’s birthday yesterday & she had requested a hot tub party . That was a noisy afternoon with lots of squealing as the snow fell . I should think she’ll always remember that birthday . It’s rare for us to have much snow here especially before Christmas . I hope that isn’t a portent for the winter to come .
    I love the two puffer look & that dress looks great with your new boots . I like the image of Stu with his glue , making you your own diamond brooch . Not quite Liz Taylor & Richard Burton !
    Have a safe journey & enjoy your time with your mum .

    1. A hot tub party in the snow… that must be a rarity where you are. About the glueing… Stu doesn’t know he’s been designated as main jewellry repair person yet. 🙂

  3. I had no idea about Black Friday until a few years ago because, as far as I knew, it didn’t exist here in the UK. Now it seems it is Black Friday Week – at least, according to some TV ads. Astonishing. I spent Friday morning sitting in a Mums & Toddlers group with a friend, drinking tea and listening as they sang songs. Very pleasant. Twenty-seven years ago I had been one of the mums. Re Christmas present buying for children – manage the expectations was always the rule with me. You have to resist the demands of advertisers or go mad/bankrupt. My last online purchase was a new lint filter. It arrived on Friday and I am thrilled.

    1. It still feels weird to have Black Friday sale here. But it’s become a big thing in the last few years. I always sort of resent that we’ve imported that “tradition.”

      1. I am not one who warms to the idea of creating new traditions. Just because you do something twice doesn’t mean it is set in stone. Traditions grow without too much interference in my view. And they can strangle if you don’t watch out.
        Blimey, hark at me on a Monday morning!

  4. I have never participated in the Black Friday mania. No urge or burning desire for a deal that required pushing, shoving or early hours standing in the cold. I decorated my house on
    Black Friday for Christmas. I did a bit then read and my day unfolded. Saturday I did go shopping with my daughter. She was torn between buying two sweaters. The agony was real so she bought one and unaware I purchased the other for her as a gift. I surprised her at lunch afterwards with the sweater. Why wait til Christmas? After one retail store, we headed to two thrift shops. She found a new with tags on it cardigan and I found a lovely blouse. Both items will work well with what we own. Spending time together was priceless and worth going out in the cold. Enjoy your time away from the usual routine and most importantly enjoy your mom! Best and safe travels.

    1. I remember shopping with Mum back in the day and her buying my Christmas present when I was with her. I loved that. Sounds like you and your daughter had the perfect day after Black Friday day.

  5. Have a wonderful and safe trip Sue.

    Black Friday is fairly new in these parts and has become popular but not to the extent that seems to be the case in the USA. Like you, I never queue or take part in shopping that involves shoving or pushing. I took advantage of the sales to restock some skincare products, purchased online, but that was the extent of it for me. This morning a friend and I met at a local French themed “marché”, set up inside and in the grounds of a Victorian-era home. It offered lovely homewares, such as soaps and tablecloths, seasonal food items like cake and chocolate, and fresh fruit, vegetables, bread, crepes and pastries. I enjoyed my first ever canelé with excellent coffee, sitting at a table under a tree while catching up with my friend. The coffee van had an Italian name and was staffed by two guys who had strong French accents. It was like journeying to the south of France without jet lag or COVID travel protocols. A new hat and tablecloth may have found their way into my 20+ year old French shopping basket.

  6. Oh, I do like your posts, sentiments, principles, and outfits! And your readers’ comments. It’s a lovely community.

  7. Great post, we were just talking about this same thing yesterday. I absolutely agree – Buy less. Buy well. Make it last.
    I would not stand in line to buy anything other than something I need desperately, like food… during a food shortage. LOL
    Have a wonderful visit with your Mom.
    PS – your outfits are all fabulous!
    XO

  8. I never bought into the Black Friday hysteria..because Canadian! After I started online shopping I noticed the assault begins weeks before BF..my email box is packed daily! This year I completed most of my shopping, safely & snuggly, on line many weeks ago. Thought I had all in the bag until my husband’s beloved Columbia fleece vest suffered a non repairable zipper breakdown.
    I did get a decent 35% off plus 10% Rakuten cash back from Columbia on a new vest for hubby but that’s it….oh and two free sleeves of coffee for my Nespresso but that’s part of a regular monthly order so not sure if that counts as a BF shopping spree.
    Years ago I worked at The Bay and found the best bargains is in January! It’s a slow time in retail and many stores are doing inventory and want to clear out stock. It was traditionally known as the ‘White Sale’ referring to linens but most of the store was on sale as well. As well a lot of leases end then so closing sales often happen too. No line ups!! Safe travels to NB, take care and mask up, Covid is still a major issue there.
    Insiders report masking often not taken seriously.

    1. A couple of years ago when I was shopping at Bayshore, and asked a young sales-assistant when they started having “Black Friday sales… she replied, “Oh, we’ve always had it.” Ha. Depends on how far back one can remember, I replied. I’ll be donning my new N-95 before heading out to the airport. I’m a bit nervous about flying.

  9. I dislike crowds but am really disappointed in the mindset of those that push and shove to get the items they want. I avoid Black Friday and Boxing Day sales. I’d rather pay full price than join the masses, pushing and shoving and over buying. It seems so greedy, so crass, so….I did buy a new mattress the week before that was on sale. I could have waited and saved the taxes on Black Friday but didn’t to avoid the crowds.
    You look very put together in your outfit, Sue. Isn’t it nice to have somewhere to wear the pieces you recently purchased?
    Have fun in NB with family & friends.

  10. Not even a handkerchief (ok,I’ve bought 2 books, can’t remember the day,but it doesn’t count,does it?) Nevertheless ,it was full price 🙂
    I don’t like crowds and stress indeed. Our “in store” sales are not huge like in US,I even didn’t see a lot of people shopping on Friday. I have absolutely nothing against sales and a good price if I need (or want very much)something,but step by step and not including hysteria. Not judging…..
    We didn’t spoil our son with toys,but I could remember driving through snow storm some 27 years ago, to get a gift I’ve ordered for him as surprise (but it was my choice -not snow storm though-and it was worth it)
    This dress,the boots….love them very much! You look so beautiful and it seems, comfy,too! I have similar (only my dress is slightly above the knee) pieces…I’ve worn them soooo many times,very versatile. I only hope that they are not having a moth party,while waiting to go out!
    Dottoressa

  11. It took me a very long time to figure out just what was Black Friday. every Thanksiving we have spent with our daugher in laws family. They are a big family an very kind to include us-a very small family. early evening, she and her sister would race out to the mall looking for bargains. especially in toys for the children. I just can’t make my self do that. We used to get a big catalogue from JC Penneys. Our boys got to pick what they wanted and if we could we bought the toys. Now I can start earlier with all the presales and keep going. I don’t really look for a bargain unless it is a really special item that is way out of my budget range. we usually do and early Xmas dinner out and what I call awalk around window shopping, then go back the next day and by gifts. That way I have supported small businesses and not dragged myself around the mall! works for me! Merry Christmas everyone!

    1. Gosh. I remember gazing at the Eaton’s catalogue when I was a kid. I think they called the Christmas catalogue the “Wish Book.” I still remember the year my mum bought me the 45 record of “I’m a Believer” by the Monkees. I was thrilled

  12. I enjoy reading your thoughts. And your outfits look so well put together.

    Never much of a shopper, I have never participated in the black Friday madness. And I have never had much success with online shopping. These days my clothing choices consist mainly of jeans, t-shirt, sweatshirt or sweater. I do have a couple of outings/meetings with friends planned for December and I am contemplating wearing a skirt, something I haven’t done for a while.

    Enjoy that precious time with your mother.

  13. Black Friday sales are a thing here in Portugal. Not the door-buster-show-up-early stuff, but for the last week or so, we’ve seen tons of ads for “Black Friday.” Friends of ours from the US are in Spain on holiday right now, and one of them observed, “How is it that we exported the worst part of Thanksgiving – Black Friday – without exporting the very best part – family and friends gathering to feast and be grateful?”

    I think he’s asking a good question. For the record, we did get to celebrate Thanksgiving last night with a mixed group of locals and ex-pats. (Turkey is called peru here, which cracks me up). Also for the record, we are succumbing to a Black Friday sale to get a new bed for the guest room at a very good price.

  14. I’ve never been a Black Friday participant, but I used to rush out the day after Christmas to scoop up the “best” half price wrapping paper, cards, and decorations. Then one year I was standing in a long checkout line, with nothing to show for my efforts but a miniature snow globe, and I started to have a panic attack. I’d never liked crowds, so WHAT was I doing this for? I never did it again, but I put out that snow globe every year as a reminder.

    It’s absolutely a worthy goal to reduce our consumption. I sometimes wonder, though, with the trend toward shopping vintage and thrift stores, what the effect of that has been on people who have no option BUT to shop for used clothing. How do we find the happy medium?

    1. The snow globe is an excellent reminder of your epiphany. I have heard that shoppers who can afford to pay more are driving prices up at thrift stores everywhere.

  15. No Black Friday shopping for me. I could never make up my mind about a clothing purchase fast enough to survive a BF sale. I like to feel and inspect the garment and, if possible, look at in in natural daylight. How old-fashioned. Today much of my shopping is online, but I only purchase what I can easily return. There’s something nice about being able to try on prospective garments in my bedroom with other items in my closet before deciding whether to keep them.
    The outfits you show in this post are gorgeous and suit you well. They will probably last for years, which was possibly your intention. I loath fast fashion and avoid it at all costs. I would rather buy nothing than a piece of junk. Now if I could only find something to buy at Eileen Fisher with my rather large credit.
    Thanks for another terrific post!

    1. I am not good shopping under pressure either. When I was still working I started shopping for Christmas in early November. I’d go to a mall on a Monday or Tuesday evening right after school, shop, eat supper somewhere and read my book, and come home feeling like I’d had a holiday.

  16. I don’t do Black Friday shopping – it seems a little “we’re trying too hard to be like Americans” for me, as a Canadian, plus, the idea makes me feel uncomfortable: as if the evils of consumerism have infiltrated people and they are infected with a plague that…oh…bad comparison. Anyhow, when I’m being told I must buy and there are bargains I’m going to miss, I deliberately don’t want to buy anything. I don’t like to be stuck in a crowd (even pre-Covid) – which is why I like a quiet Monday afternoon as a shopping day. And finally, it really, really helps to not have had a salary increase that keeps up with inflation for the last decade: this is a fantastic reason not to buy as I can’t justify or afford silly spending.

    On another note – a confession, actually – I do have my own version of Black Friday shopping. Actually, I do this once a week with a certain shoe store that I’m fond of: I open the website, admire lovely things and fill up an on-line shopping cart, and then just before I do any damage, I quickly close my chromebook. All the rush of shopping but none of the regrets!

    One last comment about something I’ve noticed at work lately (a high school): a lot of people don’t dress up. And I only go out to grocery stores and hockey rinks, so for me, unfortunately, with masks obscuring our faces, and so few places to go, I don’t think that what I wear, or what anyone is wearing, seems to be of interest anymore. Or not of importance? Is this just me noticing this? Perhaps it’s my sheltered life. But I sometimes think that if I didn’t have your blog to read and see, Sue, I would think that no-one cares about presenting themselves nicely any more. I hope this doesn’t come across as snobbish – that’s not my intention. Not everyone cares about clothes and that’s OK. I just like seeing people express themselves through clothing, and I do appreciate it (and compliment people – staff and students alike) when they have an interesting outfit.

    Maybe when I get a massive pay raise in the near future (ha!) I can afford to go out to more places and I’ll see that fashion isn’t dead!

    1. I feel the same, you know. Last time I went shopping everyone looked so scruffy. And stressed. And I think that when people are tired and feel downtrodden they don’t have the energy to take care of themselves, or seem to care anymore. But it’s like exercising, hard to find the energy to get started, but makes you feel so much better when you do. Fashion won’t be dead, my dear if we don’t let it die. Dress up for the kids! Think of it as role-modelling how to demonstrate self-respect in an outfit.

  17. I am not a person who enjoys shopping. And I have more than I need, now or ever. But , one thing I am doing, in preparation for selling my family’s longtime home, is focused on clothing: getting most of the contents of the full closets in the house ready for donation to a variety of charities.
    Have a safe trip to, in and back from New Brunswick. I look forward to what you will write about the time you spend there, particularly with your Mom and Debbie. Maritime Canada is one area I still hope to explore.

  18. The whole Black Friday thing has been growing over the past few years. Many Canadian retailers started offering discounts on Black Friday hoping to capture shopping dollars that otherwise went to US retailers….back a few years this was all cross border shopping in person. And then it started to take on a life of its own. The sales in Canadian stores were not the pushing/shoving/line-ups that we would see on the news….they were just good Sales on Black Friday. And then it grew some more and we had a Black Friday week of Sales followed by “Cyber Monday” (because the online retailers did not want to miss out). And this year it grew again and the online version took over completely and “Black Friday” discounts have been offered for the past 3 weeks and many are ongoing into next week but are likely to change their name to Cyber Monday.
    So did I participate….yes because I have wanted some things for a few years now that had good discounts and I could buy them all online (no shoving or lineup required). Only 2 items on my list were clothing. Sitting at home shopping at night for my 3 yr long wish list left me time during the day to support some of my local stores and Artisans….a fabulous Potter and a Wood turner….bought pottery and fabulous hand turned salt and pepper mills as gifts.

    1. I’d forgotten about the whole cross-border shopping thing. But you’re right, that’s how Black Friday began up here. Now it’s grown into almost a month of “SUPER SAVINGS!!” I get so tired of all the hype, and the frenzy to buy more and more. But sitting at home taking advantage of better prices for what you were planning to buy anyway is smart, I think.

  19. Hi Sue
    Enjoy your special time with family and friends when your East.
    I bought high black boots this year and pleasantly surprised at how much I’m wearing them and recreating different outfits with what I own.
    I stopped shopping for Boxing Day sales many years ago and I tried Black Friday but I really dislike the the build up and I thinks it’s crazy!
    So I stay home …

  20. You look great, love the cozy and elegant dress.
    I never really did any Black Friday sales, like many, I’m not one for big crowd shopping…I have done some cyber Monday shopping when I was already in the market for something electronic (Apple iPad, Apple Watch) but one doesn’t need products like that too often !
    In the past, my sister and I would go out for a neighbourhood walk on Boxing Day and pick up somethings at the small local shops, lovely ornaments, calendars, or next year’s Christmas cards. We still go for the post Turkey day walk but no shopping involved. Everything is on sale now weeks (gulp – months) before the holidays…..
    I read about this the other day and when you mentioned bragging in your post, thought you might enjoy it too.
    (Link to paste)
    What is Janteloven? The Law of Jante in Scandinavian Society

    Thanks for posting.
    Have a good visit.
    Take care!
    Suz from Vancouver

  21. I never was a Boxing Day shopper and also have no desire to shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. I enjoy quieter times to shop with friends where you can try on items comfortably. Your Aritzia Sweater Dress is lovely Sue and I did consider purchasing one when you first featured it but they didn’t have it at our store. There are certain items I really like to try on. Have a wonderful “pre-Christmas” with your Mum and family in New Brunswick Sue. Safe travels!

  22. I did shop for my daughter on Black Friday, on my couch, with a cup of coffee. And… the outfits are great.

  23. Your dress is lovely and the burgundy cashmere sweater looks great on you. I’m sure that you will be enjoying that sweater for years to come.
    I did some shopping over the weekend outside and online, but I didn’t do anything on Black Friday. I wasn’t in the mood and I don’t feel that I missed anything.
    I’m planning to pull lovely old things out of my closet for holiday wear this year. I don’t anticipate many parties, as we are being very careful. We’ll gather with a couple of friends over the weekend. We usually have a holiday gathering for a close group of friends and their (now grown) children on the Saturday before Christmas, but we’ve decided to delay that until January. After the Thanksgiving cancellations due to Covid exposure and illness for some family members, we’re going to play it safe leading up to Christmas, in hopes that we will be able to gather with family.
    Have a good visit with your Mom.

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