Howard Feldman

Supporting Black Friday when I didn't support Black Monday

2017-11-23 10:21
Black Friday is a global phenomenon. Picture: Getty Images

Black Friday is a global phenomenon. Picture: Getty Images

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I feel slightly guilty. Because there is more than a good chance that I am going to get involved in Black Friday, in some way.

Why wouldn't I want to seize the opportunity to purchase that Dolce Gusto Mini Me Machine at R699? Even if I don't know what it is or what one does with it. At that price I am pretty certain that it's what I always needed.

This year, along the growing trend in prior years, Black Friday is only getting bigger and bolder and broader. It is the answer to the strained retail sector and the shop owner's dream as everything no store should have ever purchased, can become the consumer's for 30% less.

Black Friday is no longer limited to retail. Insurance, travel, divorces and appendectomies are all now available at really cut rate prices. Whereas some of these might not be 100% accurate, I predict that by 2020 South Africans will even be able to secure in-vitro fertilisation at a fraction of the cost of doing this on Wednesday. It just might not be prudent to mention to the product of this bargain that they were secured on special. No sister wants to be purchased at half the price of her brother.

I can visualise other medical adverts: "Always wanted a lung-function test, but not prepared to pay those breath-taking prices? Does the cost of the lung-function knock the wind out of your sails? Book your Black Friday appointment with Doctors Cohen, Patel and Du Toit! Waiting until Tuesday could well be medical negligence."

When Black Monday, which was the day that South Africans wore black in protest against the murders of white farmers (then subsequently re-jigged to support all farmers), was observed, I said that I would not be wearing black in deference to the day. I tried to explain that my reasoning was not that I didn't support the farmers and the horror of their plight, but rather that I believe that it served further to divide a racially divided country.

Not everyone agreed with me. And given the amount of hate-mail and not-so-subtle threats that I received from the ordinarily gracious people of Bethal, it is a subject I should probably leave the heck alone.

But I can't. Not if I intend uniting with South Africans (of all colour) around Black Friday.

South Africans are news-fatigued. We are exhausted by the corruption, sick of the crime and only marginally hopeful that the ANC December conference will bring real change. Zimbabwe has confused and inspired us but we are not convinced that a new order will bring the reformation that is required to make a difference to our neighbours.

Economically, South Africans are stressed and feeling the effects of a 0.75% growth rate. Capetonians are stressing about the water crises and the country worries with them about what will happen if the rains don't come before May 2018, the month that the taps might well run dry.

It hasn't been an easy year to be a South African. But summer is just over the horizon. Schools are getting ready to close, companies are starting to slow and Christmas music is being played in shopping malls.

Black Friday is as frivolous as it is shallow. It's all about our need to acquire. It is an American import that plays shamelessly on the weakness of the consumer. But I'll be dammed if I am going to lose the opportunity to book that lung-function that I always wanted at 30% of its regular cost. 

- Feldman is the author of Carry on Baggage and Tightrope and the afternoon drive show presenter on Chai FM.

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Read more on:    black friday  |  black monday  |  water crisis

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