It is a documented fact that major U.S. retailers rely on the Christmas shopping craze to clear a significant chunk of annual profit.
It is also a documented fact that a healthy amount of crazy saves itself all year only to be unleashed for the sole purpose of receiving a sizable discount on a vegetable steamer or big-screen TV.
This past Black Friday, America witnessed the usual seasonal violence to which we’ve all grown accustomed… leading us to ask whether America is entirely just that desperate for a discounted appliance or if marketers truly rule the world.
Mad Men… And Women
What possesses a grown woman to steal a vegetable steamer out of the hand of a child on Black Friday?
Because that is exactly what I witnessed just this past week.
As if it were not maddening enough that grown adults were falling over each other to get a shot at heavily discounted products, a grown woman ripped a minor appliance out of the hands of a small child, and then a fist fight with the mother ensued.
There is a small part of me that would like to chalk such an uncivilized moment up to humanity’s natural depravity, but in all reality, I am thinking there are some marketing geniuses drinking scotch somewhere and laughing at the whole ordeal.
Because the discounts offered on Black Friday are not all that great, but the mad men behind the day have America fighting over a vegetable steamer.
The buzz behind this day has reached such a peak level that not only will there be a fight for a discount on Black Friday but we will actually start doing so on Thursday.
And while a few lucky individuals might be the first in the store to grab that remarkably discounted product, the rest will stay and spend their hard-earned money plus the interest on the credit card that they are using to purchase it.
How mad is that?
An Investment By Any Other Name
As I sit and ponder the madness that makes me question whether or not I even want to live on planet Earth anymore, I must recognize that an investment by any other name is still an investment.
Are we honestly to presume that the marketing genius behind the vegetable steamer you would want to assault a child over (since when did steamed vegetables cause such aggression, anyway?) is lesser than that of billion-dollar corporations seeking your investment?
As a result, for those dealing with real wealth and resources, the onus is on them to distinguish the hype from the value.
The floor of the New York Stock Exchange in the days of old have long been notorious for looking like a typical Black Friday blitz…
Frantic action, loud yelling, and impulsive decisions based on the winds of the market.
But the individuals who built wealth were those who rose above the fray and invested based on fact rather than a marketer’s valuation.
Because yes, you could spend 12 hours in a cold line in order to receive $100 off an appliance you have to put on a credit card… or you could spend four hours working to pay for it in cash at full value.
Likewise, you can spend 12 hours investing in the flavor of the day, or you could be the calm Warren Buffett drinking his beloved milkshake in Omaha, Nebraska while he pursues the facts of a good investment.
Knowledge is power in America, and unless you just have an insatiable desire to beat up a fellow human being in a Wal-Mart one day a year, calm down.
Take a look at what you are really being offered, and make the calm decision with your money like the people who do it best.
When in doubt, do what the rich people do.