• Morgan Fagg

Sale away with me

Sales Sales Sales, that's all people are talking about.

We have really bought into Black Friday even though many Spanish people I have talked to have no idea where this tradition has come from and what Black Friday even means.

I’ve talked before about Black Friday and the origins so to summarise, Black Friday comes the day after Thanksgiving in America where people enjoy the special sales that take place around this bank holiday weekend where people buy into the event because the savings are generous reductions and take place a few weeks before Christmas time.

Thanksgiving takes place on the 4th Thursday of November so there is no set date for this event. These sales which come in November, put retailers In-the-black hence the name, Black Friday.

In a few short years, people all over the world have embraced Black Friday which is an American tradition and likewise, Cyber-Monday was virtually unheard of before last year.

In the past, people shopped locally and there were laws in place that prohibited certain sales practices but in a digital global world, are we being tricked? How would we even know?

This week I saw a new shop in my street which I had never seen before and to my surprise, they were promoting their Black Friday sales. How can a new shop have sales and will the shop still be there in a week, a month or even a year?

To my knowledge, you cannot advertise goods at a reduced rate unless they have been already on sale for more than a certain amount of time. Every shop will need to offer a Black Friday saving as so many places have started following the trend and every customer will be expecting it.

I wonder if my barber is offering half-off on hair-cuts?

This new shop which I will watch with great interest in the coming days and weeks is not the only business on my street that is promoting their sales event. One shoe shop seems to be permanently offering closing down sales and seems to have signs suggesting up to 30% off.

In reality, all I saw was a few euros off some shoes. €29 down to €25 even though I thought the shoes only cost about €25 when I was last in their shop.

Who checks that shops are not exploiting customers and misleading the public?

What value do we put on our goods when shops can so easily knock 30% off what they usually offer?

For me, I would refuse to buy into Black Friday and let people know, we sell at our best price, always.

When you look at Groupon for example, they usually state the date of the price check that the offer compares to. A retailer could in theory charge twice the price for a while in order to offer huge discounts but as consumers, we need to be able to judge what something is worth and what we are prepared to pay for it.

I wonder if these sales have a backlash as these discounts are a two-edged sword. I once bought a €60 varsity jacket on Groupon for €24 and loved it but when I had to replace it, I refused to even think of paying €60 as I had already gotten one for less than half that.

Each shop needs to sell goods but as we compete with each other online, remember that there are time delays and packaging costs to take into account. Local retailers employ people in the locality and offer convenience that costs them a fortune in insurance, branding, and rent before ever putting someone behind a cash register.

There are savings to be made online but some savings we can do without whereas online shopping offers choice like never before including customised gifts and bespoke goods like my varsity jacket with the Madrid Harps logo on it.

Let's hope shops aren't misleading us and let's hope someone is checking up on their check-outs.

In the end, my barber Manual Casal took a lot more than 10% off with his Black Friday promotion.

Backlash: When something hurts you when you lash out, like a whip hitting your back by accident.

Two-edged sword: A sword that cuts both sides meaning that it can also hurt you. It is negative and positive sides, favourable and unfavourable.

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