Why do we go Black Friday shopping?
Science & Tech / /
Thousands of people waiting in lines since the early morning on Black Friday is not only about the deals, there is a whole science behind.
Mainly there are two kinds of people on Black Friday: those who stand in lines, and those who consider the first ones cracked.
“The thing about Black Friday that people misunderstand is that people shop for a lot of different reasons,” says Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist at Golden Gate University and a consultant for exactly the kind of stores people wait in line for. She supports the opinion that we are just hungry for a bargain, because that’s the whole and main point of Black Friday. But while talking to consumers who wait in lines, she’s actually found that they’re usually not interested in the sales.
“People shop because that’s what they’ve always done,” she says. “There’s a huge element of tradition. Some people have truly done this every year since they were kids.” No one is forcing them to stand in line from the early morning. They want to be there. And for many of them, buying things isn’t the end goal as it is a way of getting along with their loved ones.
“A lot of people are put together with people who they wouldn’t normally socialize with,” Yarrow says. “Sometimes going shopping is the only thing that everyone can agree on. It’s something everyone can do.” People practice this rituals each year because the whole family can get behind. “There’s kind of a family ritual.”
Anxiety is a great ally of shopping. It’s easy to self-soothe with a new pair of shoes, and all the pressures of big bargains and visiting family makes it easier to succumb to every trick in the retail book.
So here is an useful psychological strategy: prepare yourself a list. Know exactly what you want to get. Retailers are smart, and they will always surprise you with something delightful. The problem is, if you go in thinking you can’t find anything for yourself, and then you open the floodgates. Once you bought that pair of shoes, why shouldn’t you also get that perfume? “If you budget in a treat, you get very analytical,” explains Yarrow. The shoes or perfume?
The key is to have the control. You’re mostly exposed to overspending when you are overwhelmed or feel out of control. So stay in control with your Black Friday shopping. And get some great deals.