Shopping Frenzy on Black Friday !

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Mr Gérard Montpetit is intrigued as to why retailers are trying to create a frenzy of shopping on the day after the American Thanksgiving. In the middle of a growing climate crisis, can the planet deal with all this over consumption of goods. Should we promote a frenzy of purchases around the holiday of a foreign country.

 

Shopping Frenzy on Black Friday ! 

In Canada, we celebrated Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October, and, as we prepare for winter on this side of the border, we are inundated by a deluge of advertising inviting us to shop on Black Friday. This is the day after the American Thanksgiving, which is held on the last Thursday of November. This American tradition was recently imported here. Why? To promote a frenzy of purchases around the holiday of a foreign country?

More to the point, why would the retailing business artificially create an “event” to incite us to buy all kinds of “gizmos”? But that is just the beginning. After that, there will be Cyber Monday plus three full weeks of hard sell to prepare us for Christmas. And another “crazy” sale, that of Boxing Day on December 26. Let us not forget that all these purchased goods, often of dubious value, will eventually end up as garbage in a landfill!

Evidence points to the fact that some companies have a stated interest to create a frenzy around their products. During newscasts, we have heard that some would-be buyers camped in front of the door of a company selling smart phones. These customers have such an itch to be the first one to possess the latest model that they are willing to start a brawl with their neighbor in the queue when the door opens!

Same thing in the auto industry. Ads will make you feel cheap if your car is “only” a 2020 model. Come on! Move! Buy a 2022 model! And if you are a real “he-man’’, you absolutely must have a bloated vehicle, half car and half truck such as an F-150, a Ram or a Silverado. This heavy duty means of transportation is useful for a farmer or a building contractor. But what about its usefulness for Bob Smith and Jane Doe? Furthermore, these heavy weights do not have to comply with the same stringent environmental norms! [1] If I understand these ads correctly, they are appealing to a sense of toxic masculinity [2]

While large retailers are dangling these seductive baits in front of our nose, we should take a deep breath. Calm down and think! A good salesman doesn’t sell his product; he entices you to buy. The art of selling resides in this «nuance». All the hoopla surrounding Black Friday and Boxing day is based on the art of creating a frenzy in the minds of consumers. Before taking the bait, one should remember the title of a book by well known Quebec economist Pierre-Yves McSween; «En as-tu vraiment besoin?» (Do you really need it?)[ 3] If you don’t need it, a bargain is always too expensive, even if the price is slashed by 85%!

Meanwhile, in British Columbia, the roads and railways, the commercial arteries designed to transport all these consumer goods, have been demolished by recent torrential rains and mud slides. [4] Such events remind us that we are really beginning to feel the destructive potential of climate changes, whether heat domes, monstrous forest fires, flooding or drought.

Back in 1972, Dennis Meadows and the Club of Rome were questioning the dogma of infinite economic growth on a finite planet. For example, in 1970 , « earth overshoot day » was December 30. This meant that the planet couldn’t produce all the resources needed for the last day of the year; we had to borrow for that day. This mortgage, payable by our children, was needed to finish 1970. A half century later, in 2021, «earth overshoot day » happened on July 29! And the curve of over consumption is steadily accelerating! [5]

The 7.8 billion humans must reduce their rate of consumption of the planet’s resources. Just as the International Energy Agency recently said, we must cease to build infrastructure to produce more fossil fuels; new wells and pipelines which further increase our consumption of resources and the production of GHG. [6] If we don’t brake our squandering of the limited resources, the “bailiffs” of the planet will knock on our doors in the form of natural disasters such as the deluge that drowned parts of British-Columbia.

While the citizens of BC are trying to rebuild their lives and their communities, what are the priorities of some political and economic authorities? They demand that the RCMP proceed to a military style expulsion of the Wet’suwet’en opposed to the construction of the Coastal Gaslink pipeline on their land. [7] During the winter of 2020, this forced eviction was unsuccessful due to a nation-wide railroad blockade; they are using the flooding as a distraction to finish their dirty job! [8] The economic system, using the fossil fuels as a foundation, wants to crush all those who are an impediment to the construction of a gas pipeline; a tool that will help them sell more gas which in turn will produce more climate disasters.[9]

Damn! What kind of life for our grand children!

Gérard Montpetit

La Présentation, Qc

December 5, 2021

 

1] https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/03/21/opinion/suvs-and-trucks-nullify-car-efficiency-gains

2] https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/11/25/opinion/ads-gas-guzzlers-running-over-climate-goals?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nov25&utm_source=National+Observer&utm_campaign=cbd7531d97-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2021_11_25_02_55&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cacd0f141f-cbd7531d97-276800149

3] « En as-tu vraiment besoin? » Par Pierre-Yves McSween, 2018, édition Guy Saint-Jean, 375 pages

4] https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/11/19/news/after-bc-flooding-billion-dollar-questions-canada?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nov23&utm_source=National+Observer&utm_campaign=c82d1fb2db-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2021_11_23_02_44&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cacd0f141f-c82d1fb2db-277064766

5] https://www.overshootday.org/newsroom/past-earth-overshoot-days/

6] https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/05/18/news/%20stop-coal-oil-gas-investments-international-energy-agency

7] https://plus.lapresse.ca/screens/20c4b878-d522-4141-9ed5-6a3294a6a24b__7C___0.html?utm_content=email&utm_source=lpp&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=internal+share

8] https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/11/19/news/heavily-armed-mounties-dismantle-wetsuweten-blockade?utm_source=National+Observer&utm_campaign=d5c06f5a91-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2021_11_22_02_32&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cacd0f141f-d5c06f5a91-276800149

9] https://thetyee.ca/News/2021/11/19/Arrests-Pipeline/?utm_source=national&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=251121