Last year, I wrote about the zombie followers lining up for Black Friday deals. (By the way, I was one of them!) This year, I’m on a budget and in impulse buy recovery, so I’ve decided not to shop today. (When my online “deals” came in the mail, several of them weren’t exactly what I thought they’d be, and I could only get part of my money back, because it was a #BlackFriday event. Thank you, Amazon!) Plus, I keep seeing footage of bleary eyed, crazy-grabby people risking their lives to save $200 on a bigscreen TV. It’s kind of a #follower issue — do I want to be a sheep who dies with the most things, or more creative, empowered even?
I’m not talking about making all my holiday gifts, although I’ve had those years. And believe me, I understand the value of being on a budget. I’m talking about the creative followership that resists the whole strange celebrity status of “the easy deal,” so alluring that the risks of a fight or a crowd crush or disappointment or exhaustion or ten wasted hours of life bring neither fear nor regret.
According to Mike Bogosian, professional crowd wrangler, “it’s no different than if you were to have Justin Bieber step out on the corner of he street. You can’t change peoples’ behavior.” Sales are the Black Friday glimpse of our hunger for status, measured by the big ticket items. And that hunger may be the biggest thought leader in our surreal and contradictory culture.
In essence, as I walk off my multilayered Thanksgiving feast, I’m thinking about whether I need to go an ideological diet as well as a physical one. “Getting and spending” is a messy kind of bliss — more of a treadmill than a healthy hike.
So I’m rethinking what I wrote last year: “The problem isn’t buying and owning things, or even wanting (and for most of us needing) a good price in order to justify buying the things we need and want. It’s the burden of it all — that we, the ones who are supposed to get the trickle down from the top are being told we’re the ones whose nickels and dimes trickle up to feed the companies that we need to feed and lead us!”
I wonder, maybe the problem is “wanting (and for most of us needing) a good price” to buy the luxuries we couldn’t have otherwise. It’s a big question: what’s the best way consumers can make our voices heard over the desperate crashing of carts and cash registers? If it’s really us that drive the economy, then shouldn’t we step into the driver’s seat instead of being driven mad by Black Friday frenzy?
This year, I wonder — what does it mean to be a #creative-follower and a consumer? When I need a break, I’m not necessarily being a sheep, following the herd into the big box stores. But there must be a better way than this door-busting illusion of “sales,” lining up save money in order to save the economy and find the “perfect” gift.