REFLECTIONS OF A SHOPKEEPER - BLACK LIEDAY
As you are no doubt aware Black Friday is fast approaching. Or as we are now dubbing it, Black LieDay. One of the most aggressive marketing days in the retail calendar, and one which has literally seen shoppers come to blows in the past.
Part of the appeal of Black Friday comes from this obsession we have with getting a 'deal'. From feeling like we're the winners. From the perception that we are wrenching control from retailers and tipping the equity balance in our favour for one day of the year. From obtaining something at a lower price than anyone else.
The trouble with all of this is that it encourages in us an aggressive and selfish approach to shopping. It feeds the consumerism beast that tells us that we have to have more and more stuff to have value. It divides communities along lines of material value rather than the values which should actually mean something. It promotes to our children the idea that success comes in the form of possessions rather than other attributes. It reinforces the principle of needing to spend money to achieve happiness.
But it's also a great big fat lie! None of those things are true. But moreover the deal you think you're getting? Probably not a deal at all.
Research published by Which? reveals that all of the products included in their study were either the same price or cheaper after black Friday, and only 1% had been more expensive in the previous six months.
So what does this show. It shows that big business has no qualms in literally lying to your face in order to manipulate you into spending money on things that you don't need. It shows that they deliberately engage in disingenuous marketing practices aimed to exploit their own customers.
I'm not going to lie I have absolutely been suckered into this shit storm of deal seeking in the past. And I'm still tempted by them. I generally try to avoid the high street and big shops because I know I'm gullible for a 'deal'. And even though I know that it's a pile of tosh, I still end up stacking my basket full of more than I need or intended to buy.
It's a process that we all need to go through to retrain ourselves both to look at what is really important in life (spoiler: I can guarantee that it isn't that new tech gadget you have your eye on). But also to build resilience against these disingenuous marketing practices which are designed to make us feel like they're doing us a favour, but in fact are just taking advantage of us.
So what will you be getting from us on Friday? Nothing. Nothing except a big smile, a blether if you fancy one, some advice on a product if you ask. Our staff don't have sales targets. We don't mind if the handful of pearl barley you need for your broth only costs 12p. We don't want people buying more than they need or want.
Compared to other retailers our margins aren't huge and average around 30% - 50%. But we passionately believe in the mission behind what we are doing. So we aim to keep our prices balanced throughout the year. They aren't the cheapest on the market. But they are considered and set to try to be as accessible as possible for all, to balance that against the commercial realities of running a business, and to give you premium quality products with genuine year around value.
If you actually need to come shopping for things on Friday we look forward to seeing you. But if you don't we'll see you next time you do.