Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sales and Christmas

I've not been really big on Black Friday, nor Cyber Monday... It has become a contemporary tradition to go shopping the weekend after Thanksgiving here in the US, and it has become the biggest shopping weekend of the year for some businesses.  Even our local fabric store was having big weekend specials they were calling "Doorbusters", and I made the mistake of stopping in for supplies...  Argh.  Big mistake.

I understand the idea behind saving money.  Really I do.  I don't have anything against a person looking for the best deal and spending as little as they can.  But the last couple of years have seen a lot of customer "recklessness" in their attempts to get that outlandishly priced sales item.  People line up for hours as businesses open their doors early, or even stay open late for "pre-sales sales".  This year, there have been various reports of a woman assaulting other customers with pepper spray to prevent them from taking all the sale items before she could reach them.  There's also been customers shooting each other over sales, and I just heard about an entire line of people that let an elderly gentleman collapse from illness, stepping over his body as they proceeded into the store...

I shake my head at these things and think, "Is this what we've become?"

I don't participate in Black Friday.  On purpose.  But then again, maybe that's because I'm a guy.  I've read that guys approach shopping as a "tactical experience" while women approach it as a "philosophical debate".  Have you ever tried to simply find a parking spot at a store so you could even get inside to shop at all on Black Friday?  I have.  Simply put, my "tactical experience" ended in the parking lot, and I've never looked back.

I'm not sure I understand why there's such a frenzy to spend money on this particular weekend... I guess I just value different things when I shop.  Like my sanity.  And my ability to breath.  I'm willing to forgo a sale to keep these things.  No savings is worth giving them up.  I guess I don't value "things" as much as others do.

I have a theory about that.  I think it boils down to the skills I've developed over the years, and my ability to "make" things.  I don't feel the need to buy them.  I enjoy the process of making and giving if I can.  I think that sort of short circuits the overwhelming need to buy stuff, because I know that a gift from my heart is worth much more than a stereo component or a new flat-screen TV.  I just don't get it.  I don't think I ever will.

So for all those people who don't find what they want on Black Friday, Cyber Monday has become the biggest sales day in the US online as people turn their attention from brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping opportunities.  I've seen so many sites this weekend offer free shipping, it's almost smarter to simply let your fingers do the walking and stay home while it's all mailed to your door.  That might be what I'll do, but I still don't feel the need to shop, then shop some more, and then shop even harder...

I know that sounds antithetical to my own business success (as I should be encouraging others to spend their money on my stuff) but there's something inherently "artificial" about these conjured up opportunities to spend money...  Honestly, if you want something, I hope you'll buy it, but it's already at the lowest price I can offer it...

And as an artist, do I really want people to buy my stuff who are looking for "deals"?   Is that the demographic that I'm marketing to?  I don't think so...  Those kinds of shoppers would inevitably be disappointed that I don't have a "buy one, get one free" offer, nor a percentage discount.  I do include tax and shipping in my price for orders in the US--but that's regardless of whether it's the holiday season or not.  The whole point is to encourage relishing artistry, not relishing thriftiness...

So I encourage you to shop this holiday season with your heart as well as your wallet.  Consider what you're paying for and where it came from, not just how much you'll be saving.  Ponder the experience of giving, not the item given.

And be careful out there...  It sounds dangerous.

Until next time, Live Life with Relish!

Top Image from sffoghorn via Flickr.  Creative Commons License.
Bottom Image from tshein via Flickr.  Creative Commons License.


  1. In Singapore we have so many sales in a year, no one ever gets hurt. Plus we have nothing but shops and so many outlets everywhere. On Sunday my family went into a clothing shop with a buy one get one free deal and no one went crazy. We left with 4 outfits. Service with a smile too.

  2. Here in the US, there are lots and lots of sales, too--it just seems that this particular weekend stores are using huge markdowns to draw people in so they will also buy other things... It seems like it's mostly the discounts on electronics that get people into such a worked up state that they go crazy... I wonder how long it will be before a store gets sued for unduly endangering their employees without hazard pay or eliciting a riot among their customers... The whole thing just boggles me...


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