We all know the day. That dreadful marker of the holiday season. Black Friday.
Nov. 28th is only a few weeks away and most stores are already prepping for their busiest day of the year. This indulgent and absolutely insane 24-hour period when American consumers decide to forgo their Thanksgiving Day dinner in order to camp out for what they think is the deal of the century. But is this really the case or is it an illusion to strip any value out of an authentic holiday experience?
Losing sight of Thanksgiving
Here we have Thanksgiving, a day to appreciate what makes our lives great, yet no sooner does the clock strike midnight, hordes of shoppers rush every corporate retail store in search for the ultimate sale. Even if they don't need it, they buy it because it's discounted.
This is what is wrong with America.
Millennials can blame corporations for the amount of marketing dollars spent on creating unhinged demand but it's really the consumer who is responsible for the way they interact with these companies.
And what a suiting title Black Friday is for the week's cap on Thanksgiving. A sad day for our society who would rather join a trampling mob than spend time with their families or actually clean out their homes to make room for the new items they're about to receive.
Camping outside of stores 24-48 hours before its opening, for what? What is in that store that is so valuable it requires being the first one to the door? I would understand camping out if maybe there was some community dinner that went along with suffering in the cold. But I can honestly say, I don't think that's the incentive.
Are prices really lower?
Shoppers are sold on the idea that prices are lower on this specific day. But according to DealNews these low prices last for as long as two weeks.
Retailers like Macys have blow out sales just about every month, and the holiday season is no exception. This past Tuesday alone they boasted the lowest prices of the year! So if retailers like Macys are constantly giving away deals, especially throughout the holiday season, what is the point of Black Friday or even Cyber Monday?
The only products that often see the lowest prices are electronics. On average, Black Friday deals offer 10-15 percent less than you will find throughout the rest of the holiday season. These retailers are just looking to give this stuff away. They lure you in on Black Friday to ensure they sell a higher quota but then keep prices relatively low until Christmas to make sure these items are bought.
Clothing is likely to be 40 percent off during Black Friday, but come Cyber Monday, those same prices apply. Why waste your holiday time rushing to find the best offers when they will be around all season?
Just because something is discounted doesn't mean you're saving money. You still have to pay for the item. Your wallet is being affected either way.
Instead, we're led to believe that less money is being transferred because the 300 percent markup is now a 250 percent markup. Everyone but the consumer is truly making out on this belief.
A new take on Black Friday
If I haven't convinced you that Black Friday is a scam, and you still plan on camping out in 40 degree weather for those supposed deals, then I challenge you to at least #OccupyYourHeart. For every item you buy, I challenge you to give away three things you already own.
Thanksgiving shouldn't be limited to one day. It's the kickoff to the holiday season. A time for giving.
I propose a 2-day Thanksgiving holiday. Day 1 is for thanks and Day 2 is for giving.
We can relish in everything we are thankful for on our national recognition of Thanksgiving, but on day 2 - Black Friday - we GIVE.
Let's be the first generation to turn Black Friday into an early Christmas. Let's give away things that no longer serve us but that others would be so thankful for. It's time to understand that life is not about the latest deal but the connection with our fellow man.