NOVEMBER 27, 2021
Linda Doe, a chartered psychologist, has said that Black Friday fuels a grasping for consumer goods that satisfies nobody deep down and is fuelled by “the meaninglessness of cheap fixes”. With that in mind, as we contemplate the frenzy of yesterday’s Black Friday event, thousands of small business owners around the UK were asked one (philosophical) question –
What effect do you believe Black Friday has on the human soul?
Some of the best responses are below….
Dr Jackie Mulligan, expert on the Government’s High Streets Task Force and founder of the UK’s largest local online shopping platform, Shoplocalonline.org: “Black Friday will be followed by Buyer Remorse Saturday. The whole event is fake and faceless and as damaging to our collective wellbeing as it is our wallets. And let’s not forget the irreversible damage it inflicts on small businesses, local high streets and the communities in which we live, ripping out their souls to line shareholders’ pockets and launch another Silicon Valley billionaire into space.”
Jamie Rackham, founder of Forest of Dean-based Facebook group, NOT ON AMAZON: “Retail has been the new religion for a long time now, with Black Friday a time when the most devout can show their absolute devotion to this frankly terrifying capitalist cult. Sadly, this particular cult offers no salvation, just an eternal socio-cultural damnation. In our increasingly fragmented society, a lot of the personal interactions that were once meaningful no longer exist. The face-to-face relationships people once had with the staff in their local shops have been replaced with the frightening ease of purchasing with Face ID. The transactional nature of transactions has been removed, leaving only the soulless acquisition of items.”
Graham Wells, Founder of GroWiser Financial Coaching: “Black Friday can trigger a tsunami of short-term euphoria, from the dopamine hit created by the anticipation of online purchases being delivered to the flood of endorphins for those ‘addicted’ to shopping. Sadly, short-term euphoria is very different to long-term happiness. Being influenced to spend money that we don’t have on things we often don’t need to impress people we barely know is a recipe for financial and psychological failure. Frenzied spending decisions on Black Friday tear away at the good we want to see in ourselves and in others and, as a result, at a little part of our soul.”
Kate Allen, owner at Devon-based luxury holiday lettings specialist, Salcombe Finest: ”This American vortex of misery as Christmas looms is more depressing to the human soul than a Dementor’s kiss. No heart, no festive cheer, just vile consumerism and greed reaching into the depths of society.”
Linda Doe, a chartered psychologist at Apana: “Imagine how much richer the world would be if we all dedicated the same emotional energy to another person on Black Friday, not a cheap deal. Black Friday fuels a grasping for consumer goods that satisfies nobody deep down. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the value of meaning and the meaninglessness of cheap fixes.”
Lucie Mann at New Forest Aquaponics: “Black Friday is a black mark on the soul of humanity. It’s time to stop this rabid consumption of cheap and often plastic products that give us a brief high before the inevitable low. The good feeling lasts all of five minutes, which is often longer than the goods themselves. We could replace Black Friday with Community Action Friday, where we spend the day trying to make people smile and doing good things to help others in our local communities. The effects of that would last far longer than simply spending money for the sake of it.”
Lucinda O’Reilly, director at London-based The International trade Consultancy: “Black Friday exploits our FOMO. On an intellectual level we all know that retailers have been edging up their prices for 6 months so they can pretend we’re getting a good deal on Black Friday but we still buy stuff we don’t actually want or need and then get buyer’s guilt afterwards. It is not good for our souls.”
Rob Peters, director of Altrincham-based Simple Fast Mortgage: “In order to for the human soul to be affected by Black Friday shopping, any aimless bargain hunters would firstly need to have a soul, but perhaps they can pick one up at a bargain price.”
Julia Kermode, founder at Nantwich-based IWork: “Black Friday depresses me each year. I hate the way consumerism brings out the worst in people, turning them into hysterical monsters obsessed with getting the best deal with no thought given to any of the wider environmental and financial ramifications. So many people I know buy expensive things that they can’t afford, definitely don’t need and probably don’t even want. It’s all a con, simple as that.”
Let’s hope that those clients who have the benefit of having a sound financial plan in place as they’ve been working with an effective financial planner might be spared the financial impacts, although the psychological and other impacts might be harder to overcome!
Story originally appeared on fca.org.uk