I just dropped my wife at her job. She’s a professional, and works out of a mall outlet. It’s “Black Friday” and the mall parking lot is a zoo – it’s 30 minutes in or out. And it’s ridiculous.
Let’s say the average person going out shopping on that day really does need or want what they’re buying, and really does save $100. How many hours were spent researching, preparing, driving, parking, walking, looking, carrying, waiting? Lets say it was between 4-8. So for your 6hrs of work, you got $16/hr. Of course, you also spent a chunk of money, not counting the mall food but, again, we’re assuming you were going to spend it anyway – that’s true, right?
Why couldn’t you have just worked a day of overtime, paid full price or ordered online, and pocketed the rest? If you make more than $11/hr, you’ll have made more money than you “saved”.
If you work for yourself, you’re making at least $25/hr (otherwise you’re probably in the wrong business), so you could have just worked 6hrs, ordered what you want, and kept the $50 extra you made.
Shopping is fun, you say? But couldn’t you have shopped on any other day? It’s the promise of savings where none exist, then. It’s fun that depends on the fiction of savings, like gambling in Vegas depends on the concept of winning, though the house always wins in the end. Some people know this and write it off as entertainment. But is that really enough to keep you entertained? It strikes me as watching a mobile twirling above the crib. That’s enough?
There’s not much I can say then, except that it’s all alien to me. When I look at the mall, as the central attraction in town after town, and shopping – pointless shopping with no ultimate meaning as the condition that masses of people want to be in when they drop dead – as, judging by the irrational desire for it, the height of human activity – I just don’t see anything of interest. Isn’t there meaningful entertainment?