lifestyle

Why Black Friday has us in such a chokehold this year


Have you already spent a fortune today? (Picture: Getty /iStockphoto)

If you’re anything like us, your emails are probably popping off right now with Black Friday deals.

With their all-caps shouty marketing, cute emojis and seductive percentages – the brands are really doing the most to get you to part with your cash today. And the fatigue is real.

Last year, Black Friday struggled to get off the ground. We were in the depths of lockdown, the high streets were closed, there were no Christmas parties to shop for and, frankly, no one was in the mood.

Recently we have seen a rise in anti-consumerism events, encouraging people not to spend on Black Friday in order to undermine the manic push for spending – often citing the environmental concerns of hyper-consumerism, and the personal implications of succumbing to the pressure to buy big.

You may have woken up this morning with the best of intentions. No, you’re not going to spend a damn penny today. The deals are never that great anyway. You don’t want to contribute to something that is so damaging to the environment.

And yet suddenly, by lunchtime, your debit card has somehow become permanently affixed to your hand, and you’re already looking out the window for your first fast-track delivery to arrive.

Why is Black Friday having such a powerful effect on so many of us this year – when it has been waning in popularity for a long time?

‘Honestly, the urge to spend is so bad this year. I haven’t done any work today,’ says Rosa, a 29-year-old project manager from Manchester.

‘I really haven’t paid much attention to the Black Friday hype over the last few years, but this year I feel like I’m just itching to buy things. I don’t even really need anything, but already today I have ordered new trainers, a tonne of beauty products and I’m really considering buying a Nintendo Switch.’



Metro.co.uk’s Black Friday shopping sense check

We love to bring you the best available bargains for Black Friday, but don’t want you to go into debt or suffer financial hardship as a result.

When shopping the sales, ask yourself these questions to ensure you’re buying smart:

  • Do I need this? If your cooker has broken and needs replaced, this would be an essential purpose, while a new smoothie maker or air fryer is a desire not a need.
  • Can I afford this? If you need to put something on credit – or put off essential spending to purchase it – you can’t afford it. If it’s a ‘want’ purchase, that means you should avoid. If it’s a ‘need’ purchase, look for the most affordable option.
  • Am I buying for the sake of it? Whether it’s a gift or something for yourself, consider if you’re buying just to take advantage of discounts. For the environment and your bank balance, try to buy with intention. This could mean fewer, better quality garments you actually love (instead of throwaway trend-led fashion), or only buying gifts you know will be treasured, rather than disposable trinkets.

Get further advice on debt and money from Citizen’s Advice.

Jamie, 34 and living in London, is experiencing something similar.

‘I already have regrets about how much I’ve bought. I ordered an electric toothbrush that I’ve had my eye on for a while, but once I was on Amazon, I just got sucked in and started clicking on so many other things.

‘I am annoyed at myself because all year I have been trying to avoid ordering too many things online, and I have been trying to avoid Amazon as much as possible – just because of the ethics and the environment.

‘And now this one day has undone all of those efforts.

‘It does feel as though I almost had some built-up shopping energy inside me after such a dire 18 months. I spent barely anything over lockdown, and I think I just got really over excited to have a reason to buy things again.

‘I’m seeing my family this year and I have a few parties and festive drinks to go to – so I’m making up for lost time with presents and outfits.’

NLP coach Rebecca Lockwood says this is an understandable feeling, and that the pandemic is likely having an impact on our buying and spending habits right now.

‘For some, the pandemic meant we were spending less, giving people more residual income for some time,’ Rebecca tells metro.co.uk. ‘It is possible that habits have been created and people have money to spare, and so they are taking advantage of the sales – or being pulled into the notion that you need to fill the need, and there is a huge deadline on it.’

The pandemic made us feel like we were missing out – now we’re making up for it (Picture: Getty/fStop)

Rebecca says it is the perceived urgency of Black Friday that makes it so powerful and can draw people into a spending frenzy.

‘Marketing in general creates this notion that you are missing something in your life and you need to buy it to fill a need,’ she says. ‘Black Friday amplifies this and with the deadlines it makes people feel the sense of urgency is even more important.

‘When we think we are getting a “good deal” it can create a feeling of pleasure within the brain and can also become addictive. In some cases afterwards, people can be left with what’s known as buyers remorse when the pleasure feeling from the brain has subsided.

‘Remember that you can always return things and keep hold of your receipts.’

Rebecca Stelea, marketing and growth lead at Hapi Plan, feels strongly that Black Friday should be ‘cancelled’. She says it’s nothing more than a ploy to fill the pockets of big companies – at the expense of everybody else.

‘It gets so much hype and celebration that it’s almost like getting mugged with a big smile on your face,’ says Rebecca.

‘In many ways, Black Friday is FOMO on steroids. As a buyer, you really do not want to miss out on anything, even if that means buying things you don’t need which you’re likely throwing away after one or zero use, using money that you might or might not actually have.’

Rebecca explains that for small businesses, the FOMO of Black Friday is a double-edged sword. They might gain new customers with great offers but at a bigger loss than take-home gains since they simply can’t compete with the heavy players. 

‘However, the biggest loser in this is actually the environment,’ she adds. ‘Not only do we waste money, but we create physical waste, landfill and emissions – all unnecessarily so.

‘Reputable sources estimate that in the UK, 80% of Black Friday purchases are thrown away, some even without being used at all.’

So, these are all good things to remember if you are feeling the urge to engage with every ‘deal’ you see online or in-store today.

But, if you can’t help yourself – you’re not alone.

‘Revenge spending’ in the wake of the pandemic is a real and common thing. After being deprived of our little luxuries – like holidays, parties, dinners out and shopping trips – during lockdown, many people are making up for lost time and spending more than ever.

Thinkmoney recently discovered that almost half (48%) of Brits said they were planning to spend more on their holidays now that restrictions have eased.

The same think is probably happening with our pre-Christmas splurging.

But, before you get completely swept up in the excitement of spending, make sure you’re making considered decisions, not spending beyond your means, and keeping all your receipts so you can return any items that aren’t quite right.

‘It’s important to be mindful of how marketing works at all times of the year, especially during big sales like Black Friday and Boxing Day,’ says Rebecca Lockwood.

‘If you have been thinking of buying something for some time, it is smart to wait until these reductions are made, however, it is also important to ask yourself if this is something you want, need and will use before making any purchase.’

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.


MORE : Everything you need to know about fitness trackers before you buy one this Christmas


MORE : How I Do It: ‘The lockdowns left me scared to have sex, but I’m dating again’


MORE : Best sex toy deals to snap up this Black Friday weekend





READ SOURCE

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more