Did you go out and shop on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the day known as Black Friday? Did you find bargains, or did you end up feeling used, suckered by the ad-men that dreamed this non-holiday up? Did you save money or end up feeling like you opened your wallet at the door and let them have their way with it?
To listen to the TV commercials and newspaper ads, you’d think it was your God-given duty to shop ’til you drop on this day that opens the Christmas shopping season.
Supposedly, it’s called Black Friday because it’s the day that most retailers break into the black ink and turn a profit in their year’s financials. That’s just got to be a generalization. I’m sure it varies from company-to-company and year-to-year, but some think-tank figured it out and it came close, so they named the day. To me, though, what it says about businesses speaks volumes. I don’t think I’d want to rely on a business that was unprofitable for three-quarters of the year. Nor would I want to count on fickle consumers to bail me out in the last two months of the year. What if there was a recession? Oh, wait. There is.
Maybe that’s why the advertising is so ubiquitous and cloying. And starts earlier every year. They’re desperate. You’ve got to wonder, though, if it weren’t for the advertising budget, would they turn a profit in September or October?
And what about backlash? I know I didn’t go near a store Friday. I had no urge to fight the crowds. No desire to get up extra early. No need to go buy things I don’t need because they tell me I should. I know a lot of people that also said the same thing, they wanted nothing to do with any stores on this particular day. I’m dreading going anywhere near a store until January 15…
The only way to get retailers to stop treating us like lemmings is to stop acting like lemmings and refuse to be manipulated like this. Unfortunately, the masses they target fall right into line and march right in every time. So, did you get your big-screen Flat-panel TV (that’s being discontinued next month) or GPS system (that will need expensive new map software to bring it up-to-date) or a bunch of toys for the kids Christmas presents (that will be on layaway longer than they will last after they’re opened?) If so, you’re a good little lemming, er… consumer. Unlike lemmings, who die when they plunge off a cliff, the retailers will keep you alive. They will need you next year.