In the midst of what is supposedly the most joyous time of year, most of us are having the most stressful time of year. Christmas has turned corporate, and the holiday season has turned into a shopping season titled Black Friday.
Shopping, a word birthed from the best of intentions has transformed our perspective from jolly to anxious, from celebrating Christmas to surviving harsh NJaanuary. It’s alarming, and with consumption’s vicious inertia, the exit from the speeding train of consumerism seems far away.
This past Friday marked the busiest shopping day this year: Black Friday. Retailers prepared months prior to this dark day—preparations meant to stimulate our insatiable desire to consume.
There I was, behind my computer, hustling on Safaricom’s MASOKO Black Friday flash sale, trying against all odds to win iPhone 8 at an unbelievable throw away price of 1 Ksh, yes you read that right! I refreshed that page so religiously like I was getting paid per link click. Bagging an iPhone 8 that retails at Kshs 104,000 + on a normal day would give me bragging rights! What I have not mentioned however is that my motivation to buy an iPhone at such an eye popping price is the burning desire to take breathtaking selfies, you know the kinds that make the pores on your skin visible beneath foundation, the kinds that make your followers believe you are a skin care goddess… those ones! It doesn’t help that i have been branded a selfie queen by my colleagues! I already have two phones that have guaranteed me fairly good picture quality but still I can’t seem to fill this void.
Of course I did not manage to add the phone onto my cart leave alone bagging any of the deals on offer, instead I ended up with a headache frustrated at why the site, obviously slowed down by overwhelming traffic, refused to grant my wish! This got me thinking that Black Friday in Kenya especially is a raging hoax whose main intention is to drive website traffic and increase customer sign ups.
Black Friday flash sales selling television sets at throw away prices on local sites got me so good, I almost gave up my lunch break to stay glued to the sites to secure a deal. Why the motivation to want a new Tv set you may ask. Well, you will understand the value of owning a private Tv set when your daily life revolves around pleading with a toddler to please let you watch reality shows (which only fuel vanity) when they want to watch cartoons 24/7.
Behind the shiny façade however, Black Friday represents gluttony and a dark insatiable void in us. The uproar and confusion that takes place on this day is a reminder of the selfishness and greed in our culture that is hyper consumerism. On this day we consume gluttonously, oblivious and indifferent to the harm we’re inflicting on ourselves. Greed takes the better of us. Purpose driven living loses meaning on this day, buying gifts to satiate material greed insatiable by the material.
A wise man once said “Black Friday is the day we trample people for things we don’t need, the day after being thankful for what we have.”
One question that begs, even as we take part in this pandemonium in the excuse of a holiday, is buying gifts the ideal way to celebrate Christmas? Rather than get caught up in Black Friday insanity to express your love for loved ones, why not choose to showcase your affection through every day actions and NOT just during holidays.
Gifting has become a culture I know, and affirming this, why not gift an experience: an unforgettable dining experience, a surprise trip? After all, presence is the best presence and the best, most loving gift you can give is your time and undivided attention.
Has the Back Friday craze washed over you? Well there is Cyber Monday coming up in case you missed out on Black Friday deals. Will you be part of it? Share your experiences.