Oh Black Friday. That magical time of year that brings out the best in people. If you can’t tell, I am going extremely heavy on the sarcasm right now. It seems like every year, the mad dash to save a couple bucks becomes increasingly perilous, which is exactly why I don’t dare leave the house.
Every year we see the news reports of all out brawls in stores, people waiting in line in tents for days on end, traffic accidents everywhere, stores extending their hours, and just an all-out disregard for other people, ironically enough, the day after we give thanks for all that we are grateful for.
Now I’m mainly going to focus on the fighting and aggression aspects of this phenomena, because it simply fascinates me. What causes these people to go into these fits of rage and act like spoiled little brats and throw temper tantrums like 2 year olds when they don’t get what they want, when they want it?
I recently read a study done by Arizona State University, who found that just LOOKING at a type of ad, could induce or provoke aggression. They found that by using words like “limited quantities”, for example, that this would trigger the survivalist mechanism in our brains. Kind of like a fighting for the last scrap of food scenario. Which, to me, makes absolute sense. We as a society are consumers, and we love to consume luxury items, such as TV’s, game systems, jewelry, clothing, cars, and other things of that nature. And when what we want to consume is extremely limited, we go into survival mode, and do what we must to procure what we need to survive.
Another theory on this aggression is the TIMING of the sales. Some stores won’t start the sale till midnight, or extremely early in the morning. Now we have all seen the mile-long lines of people camping out in front of stores, to get that amazing deal. Some people will do this for days, or even weeks! And with that comes sleep deprivation, and the theory here is that when people are sleep deprived, their cognitive and decision-making levels are extremely low, as are their moods. Now if you take all these people, and cram them into a department store, it’s a recipe for disaster.
Also we have the “mob mentality” factor. People are followers by nature. Especially in high stress situations. This also happens in these black Friday brawls. All it takes is one “bad seed” to start misbehaving, especially in a large, stressed out shopping crowd, and all of a sudden, you’ve got an all-out riot on your hands.
These are just a few of the examples that lead to the Black Friday nonsense we’ve all grown accustomed to seeing, sadly, and trust me, there are many, many more. These factors seem to be the most common ones though. At any rate, it even further solidifies my decision to do my shopping online.
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