Fashion Sub Editor, Jessica Cole, delves in and pulls out the black throbbing heart of the latest sales trend.
A few years ago, the very thought of having to sacrifice that ‘one more whiskey and coke’ on Christmas day in order to be within a chance of surviving Boxing day seemed like enough retribution for my sin as a sales assistant. ‘Boxing day sales’ – the very words sends a shiver down my spine, curved by years of working in the not so glamorous world of retail. The endless queues of rebellious toddlers tied to the hips of neurotic mothers, drunk on the illusion that what they aew buying really is a good bargain and really isn’t just another marketing ploy by greedy, money grabbing retail stores to suck up the last crumbs of your credit limit. The chills of the January blues and the six-week pay period can seem like a lifetime away in the artificial delights of the hyper therapies of retail.
Yet, recently, there seems to be a new craze. A slinky new shadow that has crept up and engulfed us with its big consumerism arms. Black Friday. The fact that it’s called ‘Black’ Friday instantly connotes this vast black hole, which sucks up any pre-festive excitement I may have had. It’s yet another ploy by shops that are too impatient to wait for the massacre of credit card limits on Boxing Day. No thanks to our lovely inflated consumer culture friends across the pond, we now have a PRE Boxing Day sale quite fittingly called Black Friday – because it will indeed be a dark and depressing day.
The Americans have Black Friday the day after Thanksgiving as a way of cramming in some early Crimbo discounts before the big day. However, it appears that we love a good reason to splurge. It seems that we have also been sucked into this gigantic lightening storm of ‘buy-buy-buy’, striking us with bolts of “oh look get 10% off here” and “get this for half price and buy 5 get 4 free deals”.
Okay – I may just be a bit bitter that yesterday I had to stick my cheeks back with cello tape in order to force a constant smile at the gullible customers blowing their entire wage packet on clothes made in a sweatshop. Yet, I just can’t help thinking when will this all stop? When will there be a point when we sit back and think, ‘that’s enough’?
Christmas, of course, really doesn’t have that much of a religious sentiment anymore – our capitalist society made sure of that. It doesn’t really have that much of a family value either, with most domestic abuse cases and suicide rates happening around the festive period due to the Mount Everest of pressure and the gigantic icebergs of stress that we all endure at this time.
I’ll admit, I do also get caught up in the festive snowstorm of bright lights, overconsumption and synthetic snow of Christmas. It’s a fun time to be part of a functioning family and to have cosy mulled wine nights with friends. However, do you not ever get this feeling that we’re a goose being force-fed grains of fake wanting and buying by the retail giants? Force-feeding us all these so-called deals until our livers and wallets explode.
Black Friday just feels like another unnecessary head ache, another bolt into the coffin of debt that the lot of us have become buried in.