The Fallacy of Black Friday

You don’t need me to tell you that ‘Black Friday’, first used as an industry term to note the mark at which many retailers became profitable for the year, has morphed into The Shopping Day of the year.

When did this happen?

I don’t remember when (really, I suspect it’s an event driven both by mass retailers and shoppers), but it wasn’t always this way.

Sure, the Christmas shopping season has for a long time now commenced the day after Thanksgiving.

But 6am store openings?

Crowds lining up overnight for the doors to open?

Massive discounts (aka ‘loss leaders’) to bring in the shoppers?

I’m befuddled not only by the event, but by what suckers we have become to actually partake in this.


Here’s Why: Just like how The House always wins when you play the tables at the casino, retailers work with suppliers months in advance to order merchandise just for Black Friday.

The psychological manipulation is exactly the same: Entice the customer with a ‘false win’ to gain revenue from the additional money they spend with you after ‘winning’.

This isn’t the same merchandise you would find in the store at other times of the year.

The merchandise that lures the Black Friday shopper has been manufactured and purchased specifically for just that reason: To entice you into the store on Black Friday.  

To goose the sales numbers at the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.

So just when are the best times during the Christmas season for genuine discounts?

Here you go:

Clothing and other ‘soft goods’: December 26.

Cars: The week between Christmas and New Year’s

Housewares and Furniture: The New Year

Mattresses: The New Year

Retailers have your number: They know that your emotions are running high between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  They know how to seduce you so you succumb to the lure of The Hunt (e.g. Black Friday).  They know that as the season commences, your memories and your sentiments will be triggered by a song in the store, or a smell (e.g. pine, cinnamon, etc.).  They know you have a  desire to not disappoint or to, inversely, gain favor with a present.

We all succumb to it on some level.

Just be aware of it and how you are being manipulated so you can at least form and have a strategy when you enter the stores.

Fight back!