Day 8 – Black Friday

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Day 8 – Black Friday

Black Friday

Black Friday is one of those days which makes me sad. Every year I see a news report on in the evening of the day where someone went over board trying to buy a TV and attacked another person or was just WAY into the bargain hunting.

Late last night I went to Tescos. It was within their usual working hours, but they turned me away because they were “closing early for Black Friday”. They explained that people would turn up in their hundreds (yes, hundreds) to get the bargains first thing after midnight if they didn’t do it this way.Who the hell does that? (I’m not best placed to judge these people given I was driving to a late night Tesco to buy a bar of chocolate).

For me Black Friday kicks off a 6-7 week period of stress and uncertainty. A big thing I hate about the Christmas period is how commercialised it has become. No more so is that apparent than the fact people don’t think Christmas has “started” until they’ve seen the Coca Cola advert with the truck on it. They don’t base the holiday on a feeling or a connection with loved ones, they base it on when a marketing team decided to put out the same advert for the 14th year in a row. 

My birthday is December 20th 1986. I’m 29 years old this year. And every year two things happen – 

  1. My death becomes more and more statistically likely and less of a tragedy.
  2. Combination gifts.

The first one I can’t really help. The younger you die the more people tend to think of it as a tragedy and the older your die people think of it as a “good innings” and the middle ground (which I am creeping into) people just are. 

The second one I am absolutely find with. Frankly, I don’t need much stuff to get by and I value time with people way more than things anyway. But the  thing I hate is being asked “what I want”. I don’t know. Can I just have an “IOU” for another point in the year when I actually need something? Or does it have to be during the time of the year when every company has jacked up their prices because IT’S CHRISTMAS!

Christmas is one of those things which has lost all meaning. My mum asked me what I wanted for it a few days ago. I told her a thing which is only available digitally. She got upset that I wouldn’t have anything under the tree on Christmas morning… I thought this gift was about getting me something to show you love Jesus. Or something like that. I’ve lost track. 

I guess the only advantage and “plus point” of Black Friday is it doesn’t hiding behind pretence. It just is what it is. It’s a day where they discount products to sell you more shit to distract you from the fact you’re going to die. Yay!

Christmas was about family. Friends. Loved ones and connections. Now it’s about buying them expensive shit to you show your feelings because it’s easier than actually saying it out loud. God forbid you should express yourself through words and make the situation awkward. Mumbles.

Don’t get me wrong. Some people love getting gifts and for them it’s one of their Love Languages and they value that much higher than I do, but even still… buying something on a specific day because a marketing team has told you that’s what everyone else is doing is weird to me. Why not buy them something tomorrow? And just give it to them because you want to? 

There’s a really good quote I love from Steve Jobs which is “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you“. Before someone decided that they could sell you crap in December I’m sure Christmas (which I think a lot of people forget is only actually a day and not a 3 month long celebration) and the month of December were lovely.

I’ve been meaning to write a show for a while called “A year in the life of Simon Caine”. It would involve me doing 5 minutes of stand up on all the monthly “hooks” (as they’re known in marketing lingo). There’s 12 months. There’s 12 marketing events in a year and they happened to all be about a month apart. eg December = Christmas. Jan = Sales. Feb = Valentines Day etc etc. 

We go round and round in this cycle and for some reason and because it’s “tradition” we never question it. But traditions weren’t always traditions. Much like I said in my last blog post, habits aren’t always there, you have to make them happen. 

So how about this year. Instead of doing Black Friday, we stop. We text a loved one or reconnect with an old friend from school we’ve not seen in a while and make a new tradition with them. This post got a bit “hippy” by the end. But maybe, just maybe, talking to a human is a billion times better and worth more than a 40% discounted TV. 

So no, I don’t wish it could be Christmas every day. And I think the only people who do want to profit from it.

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Simon Caine is a comedian, author, podcaster, writer and social media manager. He's the host of the Ask The Industry Podcast (iTunes link) , writer of jokes for Twitter and teller of gags on the London comedy scene. He's also the person writing this and it is taking all his willpower not to make a "Simon Says" joke.
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