Just by asking this question I run the risk of causing the collapse of the Western World. What? No one went shopping on Black Friday or even Blacker Thursday? You mean that families would actually have to sit and talk to each other...all day? Just like we did 20 years ago when Thanksgiving and the holidays to follow were sacred? Profits are so marginally thin, they would have us believe, that if the holidays don't produce sales, companies go belly up. They managed to thrive back in the 50's with about twice as many retailers and NO Black Fridays or Thursdays. In fact, there was no Black Friday either. People shopped whenever they wanted before Christmas. To tell the truth, in my 68 years a whole bunch of companies have gone belly up, companies I knew and some I loved. In todays world though, they just weren't profitable or nimble enough and were 1. swallowed up by someone more technically savvy but to my mind less quality driven, or 2. tried to pay decent wages but couldn't keep their costs down and profits up.
Does that mean the CEO's of outrageously large companies would have to forgo even more outrageous salaries that are made off the backs of their incredibly poor employees? You have to wonder when a company like McDonalds with billions in profits shows their workers how to get food stamps and Wal-mart asks their employees, poorly paid worldwide, to chip in and bring food for those employees paid even less? There is something definitely wrong.
Scott Adams neatly summed it up the other day when the "pointy haired boss" decides that because the holidays are so busy they will celebrate Christmas at a more convenient time. I think that very issue is addressed in the Bible and the Koran, and the results were not pretty.
Americans are obsessed with the deal. Cruising by Best Buy the other day I was shocked to see tents lined up outside the store. My son mentioned some have been there a few days. Then, the dude that was #1 in line even had his photo in the paper. He wanted a bigger TV. Guess he never heard of Amazon or that fact he could have ordered the same thing online, gotten the same or better price and picked it up at his leisure. Is his life so meaningless it is more exciting sitting around in a folding chair and sleeping in a tent on the sidewalk (don't give me this c#@p about loving the great outdoors) is preferable to being with family or friends? Really?
If there is any change that has made maybe the most impression in my lifetime is that of the role of selling. Stadiums were named for cities or great coaches. Now, they are named for the biggest bidder who is a company. Buses used to have small adds up near the ceiling. Now they literally cover the bus. When you're driving they are too close to see from the side though I do manage to see the names of sleazy looking lawyers that grace the backs of most of them when I'm trapped behind. They are effective. Should I ever see that name in the yellow pages, I will remember NOT to call him. TV news is sprinkled with ads, even the weather is brought to you by or has their logo somewhere on the screen. No selling opportunity is lost no matter where you go, what you see or what you hear. Don't you wonder? Don't people ever get tired of it? I certainly do.
Saturday is "small business" day. That is the day those small retailers (and I might add those of us online in places like Etsy) hope you cause a minor feeding frenzy with them. Personally, for most of the nation this is a pretty cold time of year. Why not keep the robe and slippers on, have a cup of brew and a bagel nearby and let your fingers, literally, do the walking all over that keyboard? Check out the unique, one of a kind shops, the ones who actually sell the original not one of a million knock-offs or were designed, as everything in life is, and replicated to the nth degree.
So I ask, what if they gave a Black Friday Sale and no one came? It would be nice to remember what we have to give thanks for and what the holiday season is about. Despite what those hordes of shoppers are showing us, its not about getting the best deal. They had all year long to get that.
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