Am I The Only One Who Think That Black Friday Sales Is A Form Of Madness?
A metaphor of our consumer culture & the ravenous greed of commercialisation
This coming Friday, the 29th of November 2019 is this year Black Friday. I generally hate Black Fridays. I have never taken part in any of its sales, simply because I prefer to get my bargain in peace and quiet. Nevertheless, all I feel is nothing but anger at the madness, the intense adverts everywhere, the chaos that ensued in the shops, not to talk of the drama of a thousand customers gunning for few items that have been dramatically knocked down. At each Black Friday, I wonder if I am the only one feeling this way, and wondering why a lot of people are excited?
As a Chartered Accountant, I started thinking it is all profit-oriented. I know because if it is the day the shops tend to turn the year's losses (in red) to profit (black) or more profits for those already doing well. Enough is never enough for greedy lots.
In anticipation of this day, shops are preparing by filling their stocks, (some suspect said with substandard products), spending a huge amount in advertising, and offering a mouth-watering discount, indeed whatever it takes — to get a chunk amount of sales, from people who are easily parted with their money.
I remembered the adage, a fool and his money are easily parted.
How Did The Black Friday Start?
One might wonder, the hype and frenzy associated with Black Friday, all over the world, and wonder how it all started.
Surprisingly, Black Friday has always be associated with GREED. In one FRIDAY, September 29th 1869, US Stock Exchange & Wall Street CRASHED because of the action of two greedy financiers. Jim Frisk & Jay Gould plotted to buy virtually all the available quantity of gold, purportedly to force the price up, and resell for a huge profit. The crash ushered in THE GREAT DEPRESSION.
How Did The Name ‘Black Friday’ Come About?
The name was attributed to Philadelphia Police Officers, in early 1950 who worked excessively to combat the huge crowd that trooped to MACY STORES for a bargain. It happened that there was a football match between the Army and the Navy in Philadelphia Stadium, a day after Thanksgiving. The football match attracted a huge crowd. MACY Stores wanted to capitalise on it to attract sales. It advertised a huge discount in its store after the match.
So all the crowd literarily moved from the stadium to MACY, creating a frenzy for the Police, who were unable to control the huge crowd. They named the day BLACK FRIDAY. Soon Macy was able to turn its losses in the year to profit due to a large amount of sale on that single day.
The Shops Are Right
Other stores saw this huge opportunity in offering huge discounts at a particular time, and some using this method were able to turn their losses into profits after the sales, hence BLACK FRIDAY came into being. A day after Thanksgiving Day in America. Imagine the personification of greed after thanksgiving celebration. How can that be right?
They create pandemonia. They want you to believe you are not financially savvy if you miss Black Friday opportunity.
Shops prepare for this with huge advertisement to increase consumer appetite. Statistics indicated that $7.6billion was spent in the USA alone, and £1.49 billion in online sales in the UK last year Black Friday.
Protect Yourself From Their Greed
You don’t have to buy anything from the stores, even with a huge discount. If a TV is massively discounted, and it is what you don’t need, it is still a waste. The advertisement is making it look like we are missing out if we don’t take advantage of the offer. This is not true. Buy only what you need, and check prices everywhere to ensure you are really getting a bargain.
If you cannot afford it, then don’t buy it is the rule. You might think buying with a credit card will give you an added protection but if you are unable to pay back within the free period, then the interest rate added will make the goods expensive in the long run.
Explore the giving yourself instead of physical gifts. I know this can be a bit difficult especially with children, your presence is the greatest gift you can offer to any loved one. Try being supportive with your time, offer listening ear and help around the home are ways you can GIVE during the Festive Season.
The Consumer Credit Act of 2015 is still in place. You have a right to return within 30 days of purchase if you still have your receipt in place. You can only return in the condition with which the good is supplied to you.
The Final Thought
Always remember that there will be many after Christmas sale, and pretty handsomely too. There might be much more bargain in there than all those Black Friday gimmicks.