In the heyday of The Dental Business School workshops, I used to make a politically incorrect joke about the long-suffering male Dental Principal who returns home after a hard day at the practice to hear the words:
“I bought these shoes in the sale.
They should have been £120.
I got them for £80.
I saved you £40.
Which I put towards the matching………”
And leaving the last sentence incomplete, my audience would collectively mouth the word “handbag”.
To avoid any accusation of mysogyny, I would then point out that the male equivalent of this was a trip to a car showroom.
“I bought a new car but the repayments are the same every month.”
That was the 90’s.
But the apparition of money saved in a sale lingers, although lingering is hardly the word to describe the deluge of online marketing in the last few days.
Humans are full of paradox.
We hate going to the dentist but we love our dentist.
We understand the logic of life insurance and the sense of saving but we don’t want to allocate the funding.
Scorn is poured on trashy newspapers and reality shows but the readership and viewers are significant.
What we say in public and do in private can be different.
I have seen nothing but negative social media comments about Black Friday (and Cyber Monday).
Yet the retailers will enjoy a feast of business today, even before the Christmas shopping starts in earnest next week (or, in the case of us stereotypical males, on 23rd December).
Black Friday was an American invention, designed to give addictive people something to do during Thanksgiving – why not go to The Mall?
It was first hi-jacked by marketers in 1966, bizzarely keeping the designation “Black” adopted by the Philadelphia Fire Department to describe their worst day of the year for traffic accidents.
Cyber Monday was born in November 2005, when online retailers noticed that, after a weekend of window shopping, many Americans used their employer’s high-speed internet on the following Monday morning to order goodies they had spotted over the holiday.
Subsequently, like Halloween and Prom Night, the concepts were thrust upon us as if we were being forced to accept the culture of a fanatical invasion force.
In recent years, we were treated to video footage of desperate shoppers beating each other up across plasma TV’s – a grotesque amusement and a reminder of the thin ice across which the behaviour of the developed world wobbles.
Now we are bombarded, invaded and interrupted online through every device and media.
Deal, deal, deal.
Having invested time this week in my 2016 personal cash flow forecast, I’m mindful of budgeted and non-budgeted expenses.
That piece of gadgetry at a dental show that you simply cannot live without.
The new software that will revolutionise your life.
The Black Friday deal that is irresistable.
Did you set aside money for gadgets, software and Black Friday in your budgets last year?
There are two ways to be financially independent:
to have more money then you will ever need;
to not need money.
The second community seem to smile a lot more.
Black Friday cannot make you happier.
It can only increase the level of confusion and complexity in your life.
Sadly, Phineas T Barnum and many marketers know that most of us won’t.
Think of all the money we will save today!