December12011

Darwin’s Black Friday

Most of us looked forward to the feast that Thanksgiving brings along with the the warm, loving aura. Sweet moments of families gathering around the table, chattering happily and laughing heartily are cherished. Until it hits midnight. The quiet night becomes filled with anxious murmuring and impatience builds up to exploding frustration. The minute those doors to the “treasures” opens, heed for yourself, men and women, because it has become a war zone.

Black Friday, as this phenomenon is called, holds its demonic powers over the people through time-limited discounted prices. Electronic products are especially to die for as hundreds of dollars can be saved. And I literally mean, “to die for”. Reading the article, “How much crazier can Black Friday get “(http://news.yahoo.com/much-crazier-black-friday-221456950.html), it’s mind-blowing how primitive people can convert back to. We get pepper-spraying, mugging, stabbing, and shooting as channels of aggression just to satisfy materialistic needs. Who can come out of it alive, shall be the….as they would like to think…the winner. Perhaps this is the modern day form of Darwin’s so-called “survival of the fittest”.

While the chaos goes on, retailers and marketers are reaping the profits contently in the background. As the article pointed out, they have craftly mastered and employed several psychology concepts that managed to bring out the rawness of human:

1. Hunger for impossible finds

2. Scarcity- “when something’s scarce it’s more valued. And a resource that can be very scarce is time: If you don’t get there in time, it’s going to be gone.”

3. Notion of getting a deal

4. Deindividualization brought about by the anonoymity in crowds

I also propose sunk cost fallacy as a driving force in the determination of buyers on Black Friday. Sunk cost fallacy describes the condition in which people believe they have given too much investment to give up in the middle and would them force themselves to go through to the end. People who are psyched up about Black Friday often times start lining up on Monday…four days before the actual event. In the middle, many most have realized the irrational and unnecessary action as they stood in the cold, fatigued with their black circles. But for them, it would be even more irrational to simply give up and go home because they have already invested so much: the time, the effort, the gas to get to the place, and the patience.

The crazy Black Friday will only get crazier. So, maybe the shopper quoted in the article was correct…perhaps we do need a bullet proof vest and goggles instead of a nice sweater.

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