Ahhh..Black Friday…..what a wonderful image of America (insert sarcasm…duh!). I have never been a part of it nor ever intend to because I don’t understand it. Well, yes, I understand why it is done and has been so dubbed by the retail industry, but it is the psychology of the participants which has me vexed. Why are “we” (referring to the GP) so easily manipulated?
Limited numbers of items are offered during a limited time at a special “price” that will be offered again later in the month….just in case one has never noticed that. Add a “special” discount onto that “special price” and chances are the item will be cheaper yet. Coupons and “bonus points” and so forth will be added until the stuff is gone from the store’s inventory which is the whole point of merchandizing.
Exactly “why” do we need a television so big that the pores on the face of an actor are visible? Perhaps I don’t see the attraction in explosions (Bond movies exempted), make out scenes and rock concerts. Give me the intrigue of an Agatha Christie mystery shot in black and white with nary an explosion in site. The actors were not hired for beauty, but for brains and the ability to actually “act” not run in heels and wear tank tops in the rain. Exactly how does a four and a half foot screen make something better? (Don’t bother answering because I don’t really care.) Gregory Peck and Captain Ahab can’t get any better by getting bigger….
All those crowds wrapped around buildings and waiting in tents leads me to the questions of 1) what do you do with the tent, chairs and coolers once the doors open? Are those items left and lost? Do you tag team them to a nearby car and risk getting jumped by people who don’t know you are working in shifts? 2) bathrooms……enough said 3)crime…..what a gold mine of opportunity for those less honest than others. How many people are publicizing that they are going out and then with only a few simple moments of searching on the internet, others can find out your address and relive your premises’ of last year’s bargains?
Germs…..okay I am not a germophobe or anything close to it (having eaten granola out of the dirt and lived with no showers for 12 days….omg, I could go occupy wall street!) but a mass of people in close quarters (some have probably eaten garlic) is a breeding ground of colds and infections. If a survey were taken, I would bet that at least a quarter of those midnight marauders are sick within a week. Spread those bugs to little kids at home and holiday cheer becomes holiday ah-choo real fast with grumpy cranky kidders to entertain.
Back to crime….your car is loaded with stuff and you go place to place or back and forth to drop off stuff. Your license plate number or other simple info can let the unscrupulous know where to look later! On the news this morning are stories of people getting pepper sprayed, trampled, beaten, and otherwise injured in Americas’ version of running with the bulls all to score a few dollars off on some item most likely made in a foreign country. Too bad those dollars saved will have to go towards pain meds, doctor bills or other incidentals as a result of participation in the “fun” of bargain shopping.
I read that for some this activity is a family tradition! Could I suggest another option if a family tradition is needed? Visiting a nursing home and ask the residents for a list of items they would like to purchase for their families but are unable to do so? Or perhaps drop in on your own elderly relations and offer to decorate, bake or shop on their behalf. Descend like a hoard of bees on one of those giving /wish trees and fulfill every ticket for every child in need. If it is the crowds, togetherness and battle conditions that one finds to be so much fun, then participate with a purpose other than your own. Perhaps then I won’t feel so embarrassed for us all.
Here is a suggestion for the stores….. let’s say a TV is going to be offered at a super special ultra bonus low price one time only (BS) price for a short period of time. If a person wants one, they can go to the store during a set time of several days and sign up, pre-pay, and leave contact info. Then, the store knows exactly how many they will need to have on hand. When the item comes in, the purchaser can go pick it up at their leisure. Psychology and human nature being what it is… most of those people will buy other items while in the store, passing displays of “cool stuff” while picking up their pre-orders in the various departments. Psychologically, the person has “saved money” and therefore has some extra to spend. Jack up the prices on the “cool stuff’” which is really on “sale” and the money will be made by the retailer. No teenagers working behind the counters at 3am, no extra security guards needed overnight at triple time pay, no blood and boiling temperaments…maybe not as much “fun” but I would bet the “cheer” factor would go up.
Me…I’d rather sit here in my pajamas and order online, or go down to the local stores during regular business hours and leisurely search for meaningful gifts for each person. Yes, I do go to the malls but only with my mom on set days in Oct and Nov which include lunch and quality time to seek out those items which may be a bit more pricey at the moment, but the “gift” of time cannot be measured by dollars because time can ever be purchased at a later date, when it is gone, it is gone, no restocking, no discounts, no back orders or rain checks. I can buy a TV any day of the week, but I can’t buy memories. Did you add a memory to your life on Black Friday? I did.