Why you should question the black friday craziness

November 27, 2019 Londres, Reino Unido

Ahhhh, Black Friday! I need to buy this, this, and this! afff!

This year, Black Friday is set to happen on November 29th. On this day, thousands of businesses will offer incredible sales and deals that we just cant miss out. Black Friday makes me question the influence of consumerism on human behaviour. 

Our society is sold the idea that buying products will make us happier in life. Unfortunately, the focus on materialism can make us forget the simpler things in life. When we focus on wanting more, we often forget what we already have.

Material possessions are actually viewed as a status symbol and this means that we end up in the rat race of competition and trying to be better than other people. I have observed that during sales periods, including Black Friday, human sensibility is put aside.  

Why do we enjoy buying things so much? 

 There is a simple biological explanation for the pleasurable nature of shopping. Our brains perceive buying a product as a reward, especially if the item is novel. Shopping increases the production of dopamine - a neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure. People enjoy buying products because it makes them feel good. Think of the last time you have bought something, how did it make you feel? 

 Shopping is often referred to as retail therapy, an activity that is thought to help with the buyer's mood. Unfortunately, the gratification that shopping gives us is temporary, meaning that there is a risk to become addicted to buying more things for that pleasure kick. 

Our natural drive to seek pleasure can actually be intensified in Black Friday sales. Not only we receive pleasure from buying, but our bodies also feel rewarded by the act of saving money and finding great product deals.

What does psychology say about consumerism? 

 I have already mentioned that we are fixed on the idea that material possessions can increase our happiness and life satisfaction. According to psychological research, this is far from the truth. 

The pursuit of material possessions is actually linked with lower life satisfaction (Ryan & Dziurawiez, 2001). Van Boven (2005) found that focusing on life experiences rather than material possessions leads to greater happiness. 

It is far more healthy to make your purchases with the intention to get life experiences rather than to purely own something for the sake of it. 

Black Friday and social responsibility 

 When I think of Black Friday, I think of people pushing each other to get their hands on discounted products. During sales periods, social responsibility tends to be forgotten. People are far more selfish than usual. 

This means that during Black Friday (and other sales) we behave irresponsibly because it motivates our self-interest.

Black Friday is also a time-sensitive event, which leads to greater madness. We are surrounded by signs that trigger a sense of urgency: 





What are the steps you should take to escape the traps of consumerist culture? 

1. Think twice before buying something to avoid unnecessary purchases. 

2. Be aware of your purchase intentions. Ask yourself: 'Why am I buying this? Will it help me progress as an individual or is it just another thing that I will own?'. 

3. Make your own decisions. Be an informed customer. 

4. Understand those material possessions will not make you happier. 

I completely understand that sales mean affording things that we wouldn't be able to! It's just important not to lose ourselves in this consumerism madness.  

What do you think about consumerism and sales? 

1 comment

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