Editor’s Note: Clayton Hunt is the Editor of the Coaster newspaper in Harbour Brenton.
Our world is constantly changing and, thanks to social media and the traditional media outlets, some of these changes are happening faster today than ever before.
Let’s take the events Black Friday and Cyber Monday as examples.
It wasn’t all that long ago when these two sales days were just talked about in the United Sates, their country of origin. However, since the mid-2000s, these two busy sales days have spread beyond the US borders in to Canada and parts of Europe and Asia.
According to Wikipedia, Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving in the United States and is generally regarded as the first day of the Christmas shopping season.
The major stores put on great sales to lure in the customers and, from all accounts, the process works as people line up for hours to be the first to get into their favourite store.
In many states, non-retail places of work give their employees the day off on Black Friday so they can participate in the maddening crowds at the various shopping centers.
In 2011, Americans and Canadians spent over $1 billion on Black Friday and the 2012 sales are expected to be as good or even better.
Yep, people want to be the first to buy the latest version of the new smart phone which is probably not a whole lot better than they one they already have.
Oh, I’m sorry – you want to replace your 46-inch flat screen TV with a newer 60-inch model.
You want to buy the latest lap top computer as your present model was upgraded a few months after you bought it?
Oh, you’re out buying toys for your grandchildren who probably have a dory load of toys now – some they might not even play with and never play with.
Of course, there’s probably some junk out there in the toy departments of the various stores and remember that junk on sale is still junk. You may wish you didn’t purchase some of those toys a few months down the road.
No doubt, there are many good deals to be hand during Black Friday but consumers should definitely do their homework on quality and warranties before making major purchases like TVs and computers.
Now, Cyber Monday, the first Monday after the American Thanksgiving Holiday, is a great example of our changing world in that many people shop on-line today and that’s fine – as Jerry Seinfeld might say, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
You can shop at home from your computer, order your presents/gifts/merchandise on-line and it arrives to your door or at your local post office.
People all over the world shop via the on-line method today and if you’re not doing it, well, you’re not keeping up with the times.
While these two shopping days may be good for the economy and for the retailers and their employees, they were created, yes created, for a very old purpose – to gouge as much money our of consumers for the Christmas period as possible.
This has been going on for a very long time – retailers are just putting a new spin on it today.
And just like in the past, we are falling for it as people did years ago. Do we really need all those technological toys our there?
Do we really need to be taking all those digital pictures we take and place on Facebook?
Do you really, really need that new smartphone?
Many people seem to think they do which might go to help prove the old saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”.
Most consumers are just as unwise today about Christmas promotions as our parents and grandparents were and, if anything, we’re probably a little more gullible today.
We all say that Christmas is too commercialized now but many people spend a fair amount of money for Christmas gifts and chances are we’ll keep on doing this well into the future.
The Christmas period is a fantastic time of year as it’s great to spend some quality time with family and friends.
What people spend on Christmas is their own business and that’s fine too. However, we should be aware that retailers today have adapted to get us to spend more money that we should in some cases.