Does the media control shopping frenzy by squeezing time and selling images of scarcity when the reality is surplus of last year’s products–like 3D TVs that aren’t selling out quickly enough? Is shopping rage the new trend as retailers sell scarcity of time when the reality is surplus of products?
Examples of putting others in harm’s way to get a bargain around the country this weekend escalated. Here is a list of the shopping rage violence around the country:
1. In California, a woman turned herself in to police after allegedly pepper-spraying 20 other customers at a Los Angeles-area Walmart on Thursday. The fact that the women had no concern for the the health and well-being of those around her is frightening. Is the woman a psychopath? Nobody knows, of course. But be aware that sociopaths also are shoppers vying for the same bargain as others. The pepper-spraying was to buy a crate of Xbox video game consoles.
Look what Black Friday frenzy possibly has wrought in the name of health trends pointing at violence and no concern for other shoppers:
2. In Kinston, N.C., a security guard also pepper-sprayed customers seeking electronics before the start of a midnight sale.
3. In New York, crowds reportedly looted a clothing store in Soho.
4. At a Walmart near Phoenix, a man was bloodied while being subdued by police officer on suspicion of shoplifting a video game.
5. There was a shooting outside a store in San Leandro, California.
6. Shots were fired at a mall in Fayetteville, N.C.
7. There was a stabbing outside a store in Sacramento, N.Y.
Check out the November 27, 2011 Politico website article, “Black Friday shopping takes a dark turn.” People are battling eachother in a war not based on reality. There is no scarcity of products. But retailers are using branding psychology and squeezing time as lures to make shoppers think that if they don’t get there early enough the product will be gone.
In reality, there are too many products available and not enough buyers. Yet one item goes on sale for one day only, pitting angry, sleep-deprived shoppers against one another as doors open earlier on holidays that traditionally were to be spent with family in a relaxing atmosphere. The result is not a healthy trend. Scarcity makes people compete at the reptilian level–shooting, looting, and pepper-spraying. What’s next, tasering?
What you’ll see mostly on Black Friday shopping through Sunday are young people from teenage years through perhaps their thirties who are willing to be sleep-deprived to find a bargain. For older shoppers over age 70, what draws seniors in is more like the Sacramento supermarket that gives coupons for buying fresh produce, tempting people to spend $25 or more to get $2 off from their produce bill–vegetables and fruits, including organic. Most stores give coupons on processed, packaged foods or bakery goods.
See, Violence Mars Some Black Friday Shopping Events – ABC News and Violence mars Black Friday – CNN.com. It’s not over yet, there are still Christmas shoppers to contend with, and the day after Christmas sales, the coupons, the online shopping frenzy, and the problems with browsers, such as the day Pay Pal became not accessible to a few people, but not to all, on Black Friday and Saturday if you tried to pay for online shopping.
What problems will happen on cyber Monday, if any? How can you protect yourself online from people who want to steal your money or your identity? The psychology of shopping is troubling and is not taking the direction of a healthy trend on days when crowds hunt for bargains in stores or online.
What’s troubling across California and in other states are the pepper-sprayed customers, as you see in the news of Los Angeles or the smash-and-grab looters and bloody scenes in the shopping aisles. How did Black Friday devolve into this?
The health trend in the news runs this week from Los Angeles to New York. How healthy is it a trend to shop in the early hours? How likely are you to meet a volatile mix of desperate retailers and cutthroat marketing?
It’s all about marketing psychology gone wild. The result is sales with a shot of frenzy from hair-trigger tempered shoppers. The psychology of it combines sleep-deprived people with savvy pickpockets, parking lot robbers, and store looters in the crush as the doors open earlier for shoppers. It’s picnic time for nightlight-wracked parking-lot muggers.
Younger people enjoy mall shopping with relatives or friends, whereas older or less mobile folks, including those with infants at home, enjoy the online-coupon phenomenon. When you study health trends, you can see how stores create the ambiance of scarcity, when there’s no scarcity in reality.
Manufacturers in fact have a surplus of TVs for example, and can’t sell them quickly enough, especially the 3D TVs, that many people have rejected as an unnecessary item in favor of better quality, lighter weight, flatter, 2D TVs with LED screens instead of LCD. So now there’s a surplus of too many TVs as the newer ones are beginning to slightly drop in price.
Retailers are ignoring the surplus and selling scarcity. The first step is to play on the psychology of time. There’s now a scarcity of time if not merchandise. That means if you don’t come early and be the first few in the store, you don’t get the bargain item, be it electronics, clothing, toys or various big-ticket items and even shoes or boots.
The health trend is referred to by marketers as feeding the psychological hunger for bargains that only a few people can grab. That’s a recipe for potential violence. People rushing the opening doors of stores are getting trampled, pepper-sprayed, and shot. You never know who is carrying a stun gun or a taser to outdo the pepper-spray. It’s unbridled violence on a path to escalate unless something is done about the psychological bait to feed the hunger for bargains.
If you’re going shopping in the dark you need not only gas masks to protect yourself from pepper spray, but a bullet-proof vest, goggles, and a taser-proof jacket to protect yourself against a nut with a stun gun or taser who wants that game, TV set, or other item more than you and will trample you or harm you to get at that object….that most likely will be an electronic dinosaur by next year when new technology arrives.
In 2008, a pregnant woman was injured and a temporary Walmart employee was trampled to death as store doors opened on Black Friday weekend. Remember the 2008 Black Friday stampede that killed an employee and put a pregnant woman in the hospital at a Walmart on New York’s Long Island. Walmart?
Even though most stores are safe, the harm that befell some shoppers is reported in the media and scares away older shoppers who prefer to shop after 10 a.m. when most of the younger shoppers are finished. Or older shoppers go online. But yesterday and the day before, if you tried to buy and pay with PayPal, it was down in many areas.
Black Friday puts retailers in the black. But for shoppers who were robbed, shot, or pepper-sprayed, it was a day to wear black. The problem is the intense psychology. Retailers are competing in a weak economy. Customers are lured to their ‘fate’ with doorbuster deals. Marketing scholars know all about buying psychology. You offer a person a coupon online and they join the herd. It’s beyond the herding instinct now. The post holiday sales now focus on stores that open even earlier.
Thanksgiving used to be a day and evening spent with family, calmly in front of the fireplace, like Xmas evening. But the many online coupons and deals are now more extreme. And the more extreme the bargain, the more crowds will compete for the scarce items available.
If the items aren’t scarce, then the idea of time is. That means if you aren’t first in line, you may miss the bargain. Some people will go to any length to be first in line from camping all night to trampling, shooting, tasering, or spraying the persons around them.
Apparently bargain hunger takes over reality and logic because the store cameras have a picture/video of who harmed the other shoppers, and that person will be arrested, and somebody responsible for the harm will be sued for the medical bills and emotional scarring.