Sale mania

In retail a sale used to be an annual and special promotion. There used to be few if any pre-Christmas sales – that was traditionally a period of maximising turnover and maximum margins. Now sales are common right through the last months of the year.

For many outlets ‘sales’ now seems to be a weekly marketing tool – so much that unless you are desperate buying many things at non-sale price is foolish.

Rather than give people a break from sales after the commercially over-driven Christmas, an onslaught of post-Christmas sales has become the norm.

I saw ‘Boxing Day Sales’ being advertised on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. One large retailer advised that you could start shopping online for their Boxing Day Sale at 10:30 pm on Christmas Eve.

Boxing Day was full of sale mania – manic marketing and manic shopping.

It seems that it is now the biggest retail day of the year. That seems nuts to me. Christmas can be a very expensive time, so who would then want to load up the credit card even more or spend what’s left of their holiday pay? Many people, according to the ‘news’ (media outlets who benefit from the sales’ advertising give free promotions in a slow news period).

Sales are the new norm. Boxing Day sales will inevitably morph in to End of Year sales, then New Year sales, then marketing maniacs may have to get creative thinking of names for their promotions.

Shopping seems to have become an addiction, created and fed by retail chains. Many people seem to have become chained to over-commercialisation, and gross over-consumption. This adds to a lot of waste and rubbish and pollution.

Not everyone is afflicted. Many people will be on holiday (but some on holiday may simply have shifted their shopping addiction to a different location (albeit with largely the same retail chains).

I didn’t venture out at all yesterday, we had a family day at home. I did buy a lawnmower at a boxing day sale six years ago, but I don’t think I have indulged in post-Christmas wallet emptying since then.

Retail addiction has been given a euphemism – retail therapy. That’s a cynical and ironic description for a modern problem, trying to normalise the trashing of our planet as if we need and deserve it.

We will get what we deserve when we get sucked into sales we don’t need, to buy crap we don’t need, that adds pressure to our planet’s resources that it doesn’t need. Or if we manage to survive unscathed it will leave a burden for our children or grandchildren.

The retail spiral is out of control, with no sign of it abating. The population in general is addicted thanks to pervasive and calculated marketing messages.

Who needs a government to mind control their population when they can leave it to retail proxies? Of course the Government is complicit as they rake in the taxes. It has become a massive ponzi scheme, with no sign of a way of the ride to self destruction.

Boxing Day mauls

It used to be that commercialism urged people to spend up large for Christmas, and then everyone had a break after the 25th December.

If anything now commercialism cranks up a notch on Boxing Day – it actually starts before that with Boxing Day Sale advertising starting in Christmas Eve.

Shopping on Boxing Day isn’t a sin, although Jesus might describe our ongoing commercial onslaught as a din of thieves.

I went shopping on Boxing Day a few years ago, I wanted a lawnmower and I had the time to research the market and get a good Deal. But generally I avoid the madness of one of the busiest shopping days of the year, at the very time I am looking to relax and enjoy a break.

Boxing Day sales are likely to last a few days, and then will morph into New Year sales, which will morph into the same thing under a different name..

A decade or three ago a sale used to be an actual annual event, or perhaps one of two or three – annual sales and stock sales were the usual ones. I saw someone advertising a stock take sale for now – who does a stock take at this time of year?

With many things I wouldn’t consider buying them unless they were ‘on sale’, when they are not discounted 50-60% you pay to much, like double their market price at places like Briscoes.  But for big ticket items like appliances (and lawn mowers) even when they are not ‘on sale’ you can negotiate the prices down to virtual sale prices anyway. Kiwis have been pushed into haggling.

We all have to shop for stuff. The problem is when people are encouraged to but things they don’t need. We tend to buy too much junk, too many clothes, too much highly processed food that helps supply the diet industry with more customers and revenue.

Of course it is our choice if we go shopping and if we buy stuff we don’t need or we overindulge with.

But the increasing commercial onslaught drives more and more consumption resulting in more and more waste, and for those who can’t resist the pressure sales more and more health and financial problems.

The ‘shopping therapy’ will be out in force today.

I won’t be going anywhere near a shop, we have enough Christmas food in the fridge to last us a few days so can survive at home, or wherever we head in the opposite direction to the malls and mauls.

But as a society we are likely to continue to respond to commercialism with overspending and overloading our planet with over processed products made from overexploited resources.