Sorry everyone but today I’m venting about our made up holiday called Canadian Black Friday.
D and I have been considering buying an electric toothbrush for a while now and we found a really good deal in a flyer this week. This was in Walmart’s Black Friday Sneak Peak Sale. I started looking at more flyers and it dawned on me. Everyone is having some sort of Canadian Black Friday Week Sale, Weekend Sale or Pre-Black Friday Sale.
American Black Friday
Did every retailer & car dealership forget that we are in Canada and we are our own country? Like with our own government, flag and holidays… I’m not sure if it got lost in all the consumerism but Black Friday was traditionally known in the U.S. as a ONE day sale following their (U.S.) Thanksgiving. Because all the stores are closed on Thanksgiving, American retailers unofficially marked the first day after Thanksgiving as the start of Christmas shopping. And they offered some (seemingly) great deals so people would get into hyper shopping mode. It was almost like all the stores got together and said:
Walmart: Hey. We don’t want people waiting too long to buy a bunch of useless crap for Christmas. If they wait until Christmas eve, they may only buy 1 or 2 gifts per person and only max out 1 credit card.
Sears: Good point. Let’s get them to start shopping in November so they can have a full month of buying our stuff and we might get them to max out 2 or 3 credit cards before the new year.
Walmart: Great, let’s do it!
Sears: So how do we do it?
Walmart: We will create the perception that people will get amazing deals on one day or weekend and make them come spend recklessly and irrationally. We’re not in the business of loosing money, so we’re just going to put the stuff we want to offload on massive discounts. And for any legitimate good deals, we’ll just sell a limited quantity to generate hysteria and get some good news coverage of people killing each other for out crap.
Sears: Wally! You genius son of bitch! This strategy will keep all of us retailers in business for ever!!
In my opinion, black Friday is the worst American habit we have adopted in Canada since creating our own more horrible version of The Bachelor.
So what is Canadian Black Friday?
I don’t really blame the retailers for adopting Black Friday. It’s our own fault. They kept seeing Canadians under their own free will, get into a car and drive 200km, 300 km or even more to cross the U.S. border and do like their American neighbours. The thing is, the American’s didn’t drive 100s of km across national borders to do their irrational shopping… We did… If you remember my post of the Costs of Driving, driving can cost up to $0.50 in variable costs per km. Not to mention what your time in a car is worth…
So consequently, Canadian retailers realized they didn’t want to lose our shopping dollars across the border. They also wanted to save us from our own ridiculous irrational behaviour. So maybe we should be thankful. Canadian stores developed their own marketing campaigns. But they skipped on originality. Their conversation went something like this:
Canadian Massive Mall Owner: Hey. We want people to stay here and do their irrational shopping. Still in American stores but that are in Canada.
Walmart: Ok, we can probably help you with that. I guess it’s all money in for us American stores anyways. But can you create irrational spending and hysteria with Canadians? I mean, they are known for being not as crazy consumeristic as us and traditionally been more rationale. I also hear that you guys have your own culture and are sort of proud that you have your own Thanksgiving.
Canadian Massive Mall Owner: No, no! We love American culture. Did you hear, we even have Canadian The Bachelor now!
Walmart: OMG! Why? You realize that show is terrible right?
Canadian Massive Mall Owner: Yeah I know, but our people just haven’t figured it out yet. So, yeah, you know all those flyers and commercials you produce with Black Friday on it. What if you just copy and pasted it all over your Canadian ads? And because our stores aren’t closed on Thursday, make it a whole week and call it a BLACK FRIDAY WEEK sale. People will think it’s all the same thing, even though Friday is a day of the week and not a term that means an entire week. Just do it…
Walmart: You think it will be that simple? I mean you don’t even have a holiday before Black Friday and most people will be working so you will have less shoppers.
Canadian Massive Mall Owner: We will convince them our deals are so good, that they should take the day off or call in sick!
Walmart: Ok man, if you think it will work.
And there is my version of how Canadian Black Friday was born.
So long story short, this is how we got to having our own Canadian version of Post-American-Thanksgiving-Irrational-Spending-Day. Maybe they should have went with that marketing.
THIS WEEK ONLY!!! It’s Canadian Post-American-Thanksgiving-Irrational-Spending-Day!!!
But I think we took it even further than the Americans. We now have pre-black Friday. Kudos to Canadian Tire who came up with some great originality… RED THURSDAY… And worst of all, many car dealerships have used “Black Friday Month”. What is Black Friday Month??
Are you doing some Canadian Black Friday shopping? Let me know if you found a good deal?