There is one day a year on which I thoroughly enjoy being agoraphobic. On that day, I welcome my fear of crowds, noise, confusion, and sensory overload. And if you are a loyal follower of mine – or not – I bet you can see where this is going. That day is “Black Friday,” the day I like to call “National Agoraphobia Day.”
Traditionally, the day after Thanksgiving marks the kickoff to the Christmas holiday season. It used to be a day when a lot of people went shopping, simply as a fun thing to do with their day off. It was called “Black Friday” because it marked the day of the fiscal year when retailers’ accounting ledgers moved from the red (loss) to the black (profit). Did you know that?
Also – for me – this day used to be fun because it was casual. It isn’t anymore; and that is why I avoid it.
So what changed: marketing strategy. Retailers figured out that they could do more business in a shorter period of time by offering a few “amazing” deals, thereby luring you into their stores to buy other things as well. This worked. Things were still under control.
Then came the competition for the consumer dollar – always a good thing. Retailers had to offer more and bigger bargains in order to draw shoppers away from their competition. Getting a bargain is also always good.
But it didn’t stop there. Retailers figured that if they could prey upon a bad economy (people would have to search for sales because they had less money to buy goods) and the natural competitive instinct of the consumer (aggressive shopping behavior because of a limited supply of bargains and social aggressive shopping behavior to get a better deal than your neighbor), they could further increase sales. Again, they were right, and the consumer followed right along.
But now we are in a mess. Retailers have gotten so competitive and marketed themselves so well, that Black Friday Madness has almost overshadowed the entire holiday season. This is what bothers me.
As you might expect, I avoid Black Friday, and that is fine with me. I haven’t been shopping on that day since the unfortunate incident in 2007 when a lady tried to buy my pants – with me in them. That did it for me. Now I stay home and do something fun. knowing that my lower half is safe. But the madness continues.
Did anyone else start receiving Black Friday e-mails around Halloween? I did. My inbox started becoming flooded with “Pre-Black Friday Previews” and advanced sales brochures. I thought Black Friday was supposed to be on just one day. Looks like I was wrong.
TV ads suggested “Black Friday Month” and “Extended Black Friday Weekend,” because I guess one month isn’t long enough. Luckily, Black Friday is supposed to end around “Cyber Monday,” but it doesn’t. The holiday shopping experience has been blended together to hypnotize us into spending our dollars, starting sometime in late August. We are currently in the “Extended Black Friday Cyber Monday Month” portion of this.
People now cut their Thanksgiving holiday short to go shopping instead of being with their family. It almost seems as if Black Friday has now become the single biggest event on America’s calendar. This saddens me. And what is even crazier is that some of the Black Friday prices (advertised as such) are actually higher than in previous sales (I checked my facts on this, so I know it’s right, even if it sounds wrong).
So what am I saying? What am I advocating? Am I saying that it’s wrong to go shopping on Black Friday? No! That is not what I am saying. I am simply saying that it is not for me. If there’s one thing that I would advocate, it would be to think what you are doing before you do it. Prioritize your life. Take a good look at it. What is the most important thing about Thanksgiving? It’s not food, football or shopping. It’s your family and giving thanks for blessings. If it means more to you to save $15 on a pair of sneakers than to be with your loved ones, be my guest. If you are worried about getting the perfect present for someone who already has too much, then that’s your right
Just be aware of what you are doing. Your actions have meaning and consequence.
Was this a “bummer” of a blog entry? I guess so. But maybe life is not all jokes and smiles everyday. Then again, when we do think about life and find its true meaning, we will automatically be happy – I am! I stayed home and I still have my pants!