Black Friday

I’ve previously written about my complicated relationship with… stuff. Things. You think I’d be decrying Black Friday, that ritual shopping spree that the US has exported to the rest of the world. 

I quite enjoy it.

Of course, it’s prone to abuse. It’s just another way of brainwashing you into buying stuff you don’t need to impress people who you don’t care about (and who aren’t even paying attention).

But there’s this little game I like to play. Whenever I see something expensive during the year, I tell myself: “I’d be a schmuck to get it now. It will be half-price or less during the November/December sales frenzy!”

This is especially true of my hobby, video games. The video game industry grossly over-inflates its prices, because the marketing machine is geared towards making people believe they need to enjoy a game as soon as it releases, or they won’t be part of “the conversation.”

Of course, there is very seldom a conversation about video games worth having. But that’s the idea that the industry wants people to get. They want to capitalize on their fear of missing out.

Immortal wisdom.

So I wait, instead of buying. And what happens is: when Black Friday comes along, not only do I get my stuff for half the price, but I end up getting LESS stuff – because my psychology is not affected by that need for immediate gratification, I only buy the things that I care about. 

Marketing likes to play all kinds of cheap tricks with your psychology. (Ethical Marketing is a thing, but that’s a lot of words and an essay for another day.) Fear of missing out is the video game industry’s favorite trick. Crazy sales (like Black Friday) are more of general marketing practice. But if you’re smart, and in the know (as you are right now!) you can dodge them, or even better – turn them to your favor.