Black Friday – Do You Despair of the Human Race Sometimes?

You do sometimes worry about humanity, don't you?

Seeing the fighting, screaming, and shouting going on during the Black Friday sales last week didn't exactly make you feel warm and fuzzy about the human race. People being literally trampled underfoot in order to save £40 off the price of a wide-screen TV. Almost makes you wish you lived in North Korea and didn't have to worry about consumerism.

Perhaps it is easy for me to say that, as someone who doesn't have to wry about the odd £40, but it seems very sad that people were prepared to put themselves through the hassle and pain (literally) to experience this, not to mention being prepared to behave so badly towards others. And maybe I'm being overly cynical but I can't help wondering if the stores were deliberately looking for scenes like this in order to generate publicity for their low, low prices. If so, it worked with pictures and video all over the media.

By the way, do you know why it is called Black Friday - a term that started in the USA? It‘s because supposedly the date represents the day that most retailers start making a profit for the year - so after their fixed costs are covered, they move from being "in the red" to being "in the black" around the end of November.

But as the brilliant marketing guru and author Seth Godin says:

Black Friday was a deliberate invention of the (US) National Association of Retailers. It was not only the perfect way to promote stores during a super slow news day, but had the side benefit of creating a new cultural norm.

Any media outlet that talks about Black Friday as an actually important phenomenon is either ignorant or working hard to please their advertisers. Retailers offer very little in the way of actual discounts, they expose human panic and greed, and it's all sort of ridiculous if not soul-robbing.

Anyway, it did make me wonder what would happen if we saw similar mechanisms used in B2B buying and selling as well as in consumer side of things? Can you imagine;

For one day only! KPMG are offering consultants at a huge 40% off! Yes, usually £2000 a day but just for 24 hours, you can have an experienced Managing Consultant for JUST £1200!! Our doors open at midnight on November 28th at our London offices – don’t be late!

I can imagine hordes of CPOs fighting their way to the front of the queue, then emerging with a torn shirt, a self-satisfied smile and a consultant tucked under their arm ...

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