Black Friday is here!
The term Black Friday in the 1880s was used to describe a stock market crash. Then in 1960s it became a term for police traffic officers in Philadelphia complaining about congestion on Thanksgiving Friday. Only in the 21st Century has it become synonymous with Christmas shopping.
Steely Dan wrote Black Friday about the Friday, September 24, 1869 where investors attempted to corner the gold market, and the market collapsed.
The obvious theme of Black Friday is a stampede of consumers rushing for a bargain, or quick profit.
A similar incident happened at IKEA in Edmonton in 2005 on the opening day of the store.
The stampede at Mecca in 2006 was nothing to do with buying products. It was one of a series of accidents where people were crushed in the movement of huge crowds. Apparently pilgrims tripped over luggage from buses causing a halt in the multitude queuing. Could there be something consumerist about visiting Mecca, like a label or badge? One of the upsides of the internet is that Black Friday creates a cyber stampede. Less risk. No harm done. The worst that can happen is you are put on a waiting list for your chosen product!
We all like reduced price goods. The rationale this year is that people are poorer in the recession. They are waiting for the cheaper prices to stretch their budgets further. It takes a lot of discipline to have the idea that you want a product and wait for the price to drop. The seduction of an object that you don’t want but is 50% cheaper is hard to resist. We are fixated on the reduction rather than having the object itself.
Consumerism is good at compartmentalising. We disconnect. Nothing is for free. We are not good at integrating the market in our heads. To make a profit a loss leader has to be compensated for by an expensive or full price item. Cheap products are made abroad by workers earning low wages. Cheap services are provided by staff on zero hour contracts.
As long as we cannot integrate or connect all the complexities of modern life together we can be fooled.
Black Friday is a loss leader. But we all pay in the end.
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2013
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only.
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique.