Here's an event that also marks the apogee of consumer culture in the society we live in. We can certainly understand that when we have a material need to fill, this kind of event can save us considerable sums of money. If it allowed consumers to fill real needs while keeping the economy moving, it would make sense. But that's not what's happening.
But where does this event come from?
Originating in the United States, Black Friday is now widespread in North America, and is increasingly popular in Europe.
This concept was first used in the 1960s.
At the time, it mainly referred to the increase in pedestrian and automobile traffic at the start of the Christmas shopping season. Merchants appropriated the term.
At that time, accounting was done by hand. Red ink was used for loss-making accounts, while black ink was used for positive ones. For many shopkeepers, the holiday season was the most prosperous time of the year, and sometimes it was the only time they could survive.
For them, Black Friday meant "going out of the red" in their accounts and "back into the black".
What about today?
With the arrival of the internet, Black Friday has been joined by Cyber Monday for e-commerce. As most major chains or brands have both physical stores and online sales sites, this gives them an extra week during which people shop intensively, looking for discounted items.
To give you some figures demonstrating the scale of the phenomenon, in 2016, $67.6 billion was spent over the Black Friday weekend in the United States. In addition, some 133.7 million American consumers shopped during the same period. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. has a population of 326 million. This means that almost 1/3 of the U.S. population heads for the stores on a single weekend, representing 66% of adult consumers.
Although here in Quebec this event is relatively courteous between consumers, this is not always the case elsewhere. In the United States, and now in Europe, shoppers wait until early morning for the doors to open, triggering a human flood of people literally rushing towards coveted objects.
This part is so incomprehensible to us! It's not as if all these people are lacking something vital, is it?
How do you manage all this?
If there's a need, whether it's for Black Friday, post-holiday discounts or any other discount, the first thing to assess is your needs. A lot of people go to the malls to look for bargains. What does this do? Most of the time, they buy things they don't need! And many of these goods unfortunately end up in the back of a wardrobe or even in the garbage! The horror!
If you want to make the most of it, plan your real needs, move to strategic locations and make sure that what you want to buy is really worth it and won't have a disproportionate impact on the environment. Let's add a little color to this Black Friday!