Black Friday or Blatant Fraud?

By Ciéra Cree – So, it seems it’s made its way around again – Black Friday. Shops slice their prices to smithereens in order to offer us irresistible deals, and strong doses…

By Ciéra Cree

Black Friday’ 2020 will be taking place on Friday 27th November. Due to lockdown it will be predominantly online.

So, it seems it’s made its way around again – Black Friday. Shops slice their prices to smithereens in order to offer us irresistible deals, and strong doses of satisfaction, just in time for the holiday season. Festive tunes and sparkling lights glimmer in the background while we look through the shelves among our favourite stores, searching for the perfect items for both ourselves and the people in our lives. We leave with bags full of things and purses much emptier than they were upon our morning departure, but it’s alright because what we bought was for a bargain price, right? We may have left with way more items than we intended to buy but it’s justifiable when you’re saving so much money, isn’t it? Think again.

Black Friday is heavily anticipated by people across the globe who are eager to get their hands on the best that they can find for the best possible prices. We see something is a good deal and missing out is, frankly, not an option. It’s instinctual, but what’s scarier is the fact that people are so blinded by the promise of savings that they often don’t stop to think about what, or why, they are consuming in the first place. We’re in an almost zombified state, mindlessly picking up products, since that’s what the day is all about – consumption. The fact that we have a dedicated day of appeal towards mass consumption, when there are people whom we walk past on the streets after our shameless shopping sprees sleeping rough and needing shelter is, in the bluntest of terms, rather disgusting.

Shops aren’t here to operate in your best interest and supply you with something amazing. Why would they be? Why would they throw their profits and priorities down the drain to give us what we want? It’s all an illusion, a facade, and we fall for it time and time again.

Do you ever take a moment to acknowledge that when you enter shops on Black Friday, the products you see are often different from what’s usually there? Or that there are magically way more items present? This isn’t the shops providing you with new things at terrifically tiny sums out of nowhere, but instead, it’s a display of all of the items from the back of the storage that normally don’t sell. As it’s Black Friday, and people are in a scatter grabbing gifts, they know that this is the time to shift these away from their catalogue. And what about the products that suddenly aren’t there anymore when they used to be? This doesn’t always mean that they were popular and sold out before you got there. If the store owners wish not to have them incorporated among any of this, they simply take them off the floor and replace them with what they want to get rid of until the period ends. And the prices, these bargains we so wholeheartedly adore, fall into this manipulation too.

Let me introduce you to the art of price-fixing. This is where retailers increase the price of items in their inventory before, for instance, Black Friday so then once the price is cut, it provides the public with the illusion of a good deal. Something could normally have a shelf value of £5, be placed up to £10 in the days before the event, and become halved back down to £5 when the day emerges. We see this product at half price and believe that we obtain more than what we paid for, whereas in fact, we’re succumbing to something false – a tactical industry move.

So, what should we do to combat this? How can we possibly avoid falling victim to these schemes? I’m not here to tell you to miserably stay indoors and never shop again, but I do feel that we can afford to be a bit more mindful. Before you go shopping perhaps make a list of who you intend to buy for and what you are thinking of buying, or if you’re shopping for yourself, have a look around the stores prior to the event and take note of what sparks interest and the price it is displayed as. Regardless of the fact that this day is apparently all about grabbing a bargain, there’s no reason to not stick to a budget. Leave your debit card at home and only go out with the amount of cash you can comfortably spend. And if you don’t need anything, don’t feel the pressure to participate because others are. Shopping nowadays has become a social event and pastime, especially for young people, but just because you are out with friends doesn’t mean you have to buy something.

I hope that this article has highlighted for you some of the trickery that can be found underneath Black Friday’s surface, and that it may encourage you to think before reaching into your pocket.

Image: Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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