As this week crawled steadily forward to the infamous Black Friday Shopping
Orgy Extravaganza that happens once a year following Thanksgiving in the U.S., I found myself feeling the need to hunker down and shut my ears and eyes to the online advertisements, and marketing ploys vying for my already very limited span of attention.
Any company I have ever ordered online from, gave me almost a daily “ding” of email notifications telling me that I MUST take advantage of their Black Friday Sales, with descriptive and tantalizing Subject Titles such as:
ONE DAY ONLY!!!
Don’t miss out!!
Limited Quantities See Store for Details!!
You’ll NEVER have another OPPORTUNITY to SAVE!!
In addition to this insane repetitive electronic noise, those with Cable Television are bombarded much worse, and indeed I feel for those poor sods. I happily have not had Cable since 2008, when I met my now-husband. Himself hadn’t had TV for years, and seemed marvellously well-adjusted and peaceful as a human being. I cut off my cable, purely as a social experiment to see if I could actually manage without it….and miracle of miracles – I have not lost my mind.
What I have gained, in fact, is
weight less advertisements prodding me every 5 minutes, less flogging of miscellaneous products that someone thinks I absolutely should have to make my life more complete, and ostensibly the best thing for me is the notable decrease in mental clutter. When we are forced to sort through the nightmare of advertising, (have you noticed how LOUD TV ads are compared to the movie or show you are trying to watch?) we are constantly interrupted mentally from otherwise satisfying endeavours (ie reading, enjoying the company of friends, a bit of afternoon delight with our significant others…).
Back to Black Friday, or rather, how I started to avoid Black Friday..
One of the pivotal moments for me in learning that I do not fare well in voracious shopping mobs, is the one year I asked my Auntie if we could go downtown Calgary to the Eaton’s Centre to the Boxing Day Sales. I was rather young, so thought I had the stomach for it. After fighting for parking, we converged on a feverish, fast-moving mosh pit that could have been mistaken for some kind of drunken out of control frat party…there were people, agitated, sweating, frantic people on all sides, pressing us inward, moving steadily toward the material “prize” that we could grab out from under the other lemmings..After just a short while, I remember feeling like being a baby in a birth canal – I was hot, sweaty, claustrophobic, in need of air, could see the EXIT sign far off in the distance beckoning to me – and felt like screaming: “For the love of God LET ME OUT!!!!!” I was imagining a giant set of forceps grabbing me by the head and pulling me out into the parking lot (and even that visual was easier to take than my surroundings in that moment).
At that point, NO material possession, no matter how coveted, was worth my complete loss of sanity.
The sheer energy of that mob was topped only by its mass. We could not get out of there fast enough. By the end we both wanted to stick a fork in someone’s head. Thankfully no injuries were sustained that day, but an important lesson was learned.
I will not willingly put myself in that kind of frenzy ever again, if I can find a better alternative. I am at the point now where Malls give me hives. I start itching just approaching the proximity of Malls, or big Box Stores like Walmart, Canadian Tire, Costco.
Anytime I get a ONE DAY ONLY invitation, I realize now I can press Delete, or say No Thank You, and walk away.
I have learned, that every time they say ONE DAY ONLY – it really translates to: Until the next time we offer a ONE DAY only, which may be in 3 months, or a year, but it will bloody well happen again. They will again whip up a new marketing frenzy that will stir up consumers who will worry that this “next big item” will somehow complete their lives, and not obtaining it would be catastrophic.
These “Sales’ are hardly in the same league as say, Haley’s Comet, that comes round approximately every 75 years….now THAT is something to stay up for and try to get a sighting of..NOT camping out at 3 a.m. in the November sub-zero temperatures to get a spot in line, outside of an a big box Electronics Store, so you can be the first to trample past others when the doors open to get that Car Stereo or other item that you will be bored with in about a month, on Sale.
My need to simplify life in recent years has included a “What do we really NEED” mantra. It has become increasingly important to me in this day and age where we are literally bombarded mentally and physically with the need for “BiggerBetterMoreBiggerBetterMore”, that a simple uncomplicated life is a thing to be treasured like Gold.
For me, it is critical to avoid the Black Friday Mass Mob Frenzy, in favour of a more quiet-spirited gratitude for the simple things in life that cost nothing or little. I still love to give gifts.
However, my own personal choice for giving now, is to try first to support small local business, then Alberta owned business, then made in Canada, and ultimately try to give meaningful gifts to those I love, without getting caught up in the frenzied mobs that try to market the panties off of unsuspecting people and make them feel they lack something.
Just some of my random thoughts on the Eve of Black Friday.
How do you feel about Black Friday?