The Black Friday Swindle – Simply Live
So, it’s that time of year again, when those people in America have just celebrated their Thanksgiving holiday and the days after begin the crazy shopping expeditions — Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
If you go to anywhere online, your emails, social media, even to browse something like Amazon for a new book, or head over to your local supermarket’s website, you’ll be bombarded with advertisements for their Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.
In fact, you’ll be hard pushed to find any kind of business site not participating in either of these days marketing madness. Almost every company is slashing their process and reducing costs, and people in the western world get sucked into it by the masses, trying to get themselves a good deal on things they want to buy their loved ones for Christmas, or just the gadget they’ve been after.
I am in England, so our Black Friday is a little different to what it is in America. As far as I know, and correct me if I am wrong, the Black Friday deals are for one day there. But over here, what companies have started to do is Black Friday sales that last two weeks. It’s everywhere you go and so hard not to buy into it. The corporations know what they’re doing with their seductive deals. The problem is, we get sucked into them.
Black Friday How it Began
There are various reports of why this day is called Black Friday, and as I am not American, I am not sure which is the truth. A quick search online will tell you it is because it’s the time of the year when company financial reports go from being in the red (unprofitable) to in the black (profitable). Another search told me it is a day off for American’s after Thanksgiving so they can have a four-day weekend.
The origin story I think maybe the real one doesn’t relate to sales at all, but rather an association with a financial crisis. Two Wall Street investors, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk brought a large amount of gold into America, with the hope of making a considerable profit, but on Friday 24th September 1869, the gold market crashed and left many people bankrupt. It was only later the term; Black Friday became associated with Thanksgiving.
In the 1950s, Philadelphia police used the “Black Friday” term to refer to the day between Thanksgiving and the Army-Navy game. Huge crowds of shoppers and tourists went to the city that Friday and cops had to work long hours to cover the crowds and traffic.
Black Friday came to the UK in 2013, when the supermarket chain, ASDA, a subsidiary of Walmart announced their Black Friday sales, and it was later followed in 2014 by carious chains such as Very and John Lewis. Now, Black Friday is as popular in the United Kingdom as it is in America.
Spread Out Sales
When Black Friday first hit the UK, I was astounded watching those videos on YouTube with people literally fighting over televisions and cheap microwaves, not to mention those shoppers who camped outside in the freezing cold with the hope of a bargain.
Now, retailers spread out their sales, and it isn’t so they can prevent mass murder in the electrical stores, other parents going at it over the latest, much wanted, robotic gadget every kid needs and wants. Nope. It is to maximise the profits.
I still can’t believe it in many ways. The way people fought over stuff. Have we all got so materialistic that we’ll fight each other, punch and kick another person because we must have that new iPhone?
In the bigger picture of the world, there are people, camping outside. Not so they can grab a bargain, but because they can’t even afford a bed. They camp out there because they have no choice and the disgrace of many as they pile in and fight each other, leaves me lost for words.
Black Friday Spending
Despite the spread-out sales and the lack of queues we see today outside these big retailers, Black Friday spending is as much the same as it ever was. If not more.
For people all over the western world, Black Friday starts the shopping season for families everywhere getting ready of the big day in December — Christmas Day.
The Target Effect
If you look anywhere, load up a website, look at your own local supermarkets, you’ll see posters and banners all advertising Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. The goal for them is to get you in the door by drastically reducing the prices of some sought after items, like iPads, Televisions, gaming consoles, and so on.
But the aim of this is to get you in the door in the first place.
I’m sure, like me, you’ve gone to the supermarket for a loaf of bread or a bottle of milk, and somehow, you’ve spent over fifty pounds and have five carrier bags of items you probably don’t need? Don’t think this is a failing on your part. Not at all.
The stores and their marketers know exactly what they’re doing. They know how to strategically place low-cost items and products on sale in front of you with the hope that you’ll make that impulse purchase and snap the deal up.
This is what Black Friday and Cyber Monday are. They slash prices, reduce costs and entice you into their stores. What they hope is that you leave with so much more than you wanted. Especially at this time of year when you’re checking off lists and making sure everyone from your Mum to weird Uncle Jack has a gift.
The Online Spy
Do you ever notice the advertisements you get on social media? How they’re targeted to you and what you’re into? That isn’t an accident. Companies spend millions every year on perfecting their marketing techniques and gathering data so they can track everyone’s spending.
In the run-up to sales, the companies will serve you advertisements that are tailored to you and your shopping habits. Yes, big brother is watching, and he knows what you buy.
Black Friday Targets the Poor
The problem is, so many of us go into debt at this time of year. In America, the average credit card debt for a person is $16,000 and, in the UK, it is reported to be around £9,000. With the way we spend and consume, it can only get worse.
It can be tempting for those of us living payday to payday to splurge out on these sale days thinking were getting a good deal. The sad thing is, it is those people already in financial dire straits that these sales target. Like everyone, they want to buy their children the lasts technology and on a general day to day basis, they can’t.