I AM writing this under a cloud. A black one.

It is Black Friday, probably the most appropriately named day in the calendar – because while Halloween used to be the scariest day of the year, now the dark forces that walk the earth from time to time do it a month later.

And the blinding lights that attract some people’s eyes in the darkness of Black Friday are made all the more sinister when you realise they are false dawns.

I think we can all understand what the black stain that engulfs the so-called developed world at the end of November says about the rampant consumerism, materialism and - if you like – capitalism of modern life, even if its effects vary.

I hope that for everybody who is lured and then buys into the hype, there are plenty more who find their stomachs turned by its false promises.

What makes Black Friday even blacker is the masquerade.

On the surface it is good.

It seems like a happy opportunity to bag a bargain. We all like a deal, and nobody likes one more than me.

It is even sweeter if you seem to benefit at the apparent expense of giant corporations or multi-national chains, and it sounds like a victory for the little guy.

He can surely go home happy in the knowledge that he has saved himself a few quid.

But if Black Friday is an exercise in thrift, why does it feel so much more like it is driven by greed?

Those massive organisations spending all that money on tempting you to buy into their supposed ‘deals’ are the same ones who, for the other 364 days of the year, are likely to use their profits to devise new ways of avoiding tax, instead of putting their billions to good use, or permanently offering good terms.

How ironic that they satisfy their own greed by tapping into their customers'.

I have been against Black Friday ever since it first affected us on this side of the Atlantic, bursting on to the scene not with images of people in happy pursuit of a bargain, but scavengers fighting over the limited bones that had been made available within a limited time.

And the most loathsome aspect becomes apparent when you do what I like to do, which is trace roots.

Wikipedia tells me that its origins are actually linked with something inherently good and charitable.

Thanksgiving is a time that traditionally brings American families and friends together in a kind of glorified Harvest Festival, when those who haven’t lost touch with its ultimate meaning recognise their own good fortune.

But when Thanksgiving is over and the clock clicks round to Black Friday, the thanks they gave quickly turns to ingratitude.

Although it didn’t have a name at first, apparently Black Friday started in the 1950s when American businesses started trying to fill the lull between Thanksgiving and the Christmas shopping boom – because we can’t have already rich businesses going a whole day or two without taking more of our money.

It’s only in recent years that the whole thing has grown into the tumour that we now know it as, and spread to infect the lives of billions of others.

But perhaps I should give thanks for Black Friday, after all.

As much as I detest it for encouraging us to give them even more of our money, I can’t think of anything that is quite as effective in persuading me to hang on to mine.

And I find Black Friday is the perfect day for deciding how to spend my money and my time more wisely.