Do you really need a new shirt?
You might think of the retail bonanza known as Black Friday as the official start of the holiday shopping season or as an integral part of many Thanksgiving traditions, but this holiday tradition has actually a darker past that you can imagine.
Where did this tradition start and why is it big? Arguably, the biggest regarding sales. We’ll go over a few notions that might blow your mind and if they won’t they’ll definitely be some good talking points while waiting in line outside Macy’s at 4am.
The first time the term “Black Friday” was used it was applied in regard to financial crisis: specifically, the crash of the US gold market on September 24, 1869. On that day two Wall Street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, worked to buy as much as they could of the nation’s gold, hoping to sell it back to make sky-high profits, but the conspiracy soon unraveled and sent the stock market into bankruptcy.
The connection to the holiday season is not that clear on the contrary, according to Britannica, use of the term Black Friday in relation to exceptional sales may go back to the early 60’s, when police officers from Philadelphia described the insanity taking place calling it “the chaos that resulted when large numbers of suburban tourists came into the city to begin their holiday shopping,”
By the time it caught up all around the US, the event seems to have held its side of the deal helping stores that operate at a loss throughout the year, but are able to earn a profit on the day after Thanksgiving.
It’s Thanksgiving, people are most likely to spend money on gifts.
In addition to that, many stores at that time would start the shopping season only after Thanksgiving, it was basically like opening the floodgates at that point, which became a huge thing.
Shoppers would camp outside stores for hours, waiting for the doors to open and save some cash. We all have those images burned in the back of our brains of lines and lines of people with tents just outside malls on Good Morning America.
But, do you really need a new shirt?
According to research, shoppers spend an average of $313.29 dollars on sale items, but what’s even more relevant is that research has shown that buying an item at a price that’s lower than standard price is indeed satisfying. Even if it’s something that you don’t actually need, it’s the value of the deal itself that makes the purchase worth it.
So, the answer is no, you don’t really need a new shirt, actually the only reason why Black Friday deals are better than other deals on any other day of the year is because of marketing tactics.
FOMO is one of them.
Many Black Friday deals are limited-time offers, which only makes the shopping spree more thrilling, there’s a fear of missing out on the best item on sale that drives people into purchasing things they otherwise wouldn’t. And there’s also a phenomenon called “shopping momentum” which occurs when a purchase puts you in a mental state of impulses that encourage you to keep buying one item after the other. Shopping leads to more shopping.
Black Friday is definitely a big paradox, people trample over each other to buy things exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have and we have to thank good marketing deals and strategies for that and their ability to increase anticipatory regret in people for not getting the best and most convenient item at the store.
To finish this all up I’ll quote fashion genius Karl Lagerfeld, because I feel it’s fitting.
“Buy what you don’t have yet or what you really want, which can be mixed with what you already own. But only because something excites you, not just for the simple act of shopping.” – Karl Lagerfeld
by Miriam Gagino
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