Called in to the shopping centre yesterday morning, (Friday 29th November), just to buy a few necessary items such as bananas, apples, cheese and (shudder!) cockroach baits. (Yes, we’ve had a few ‘cockies’ of the nasty type appearing lately).
I was wondering why there seemed to be so many more people in Westfield than usual.
Queues in every shop; shoppers actually bumping into us as we walked from one shop to another. Then I saw a large advertising sign:
‘Black Friday Specials’
What the hell is ‘Black Friday’?
Over the past few days, I had noticed a few uninvited emails popping into my in-box with something about ‘Black Friday’, which I had just deleted. But it was not until I saw the sign in the shopping centre, that (being a bit slow on the uptake) I realised that this (somehow 'special') Friday had something to do with shopping. But what, exactly, I had no idea.
So, once I was home, off I went to read what Mr Google had to say.
At first, when I ‘researched’ ‘Black Friday’ all that came up were ‘Black Friday’ sales advertisements.
There they were for Kmart, Amazon, The Good Guys, Myer and all manner of retailers, including pharmacies and even airlines and newspapers!
I wasn’t really interested in sales, so I searched for ‘What is Black Friday?’
Here, folks, is what I discovered:
That didn’t sound right, so I looked a little further and found:
What the hell? It’s obviously some crazy American thing.
But, but…we, here in Australia, have never celebrated Thanksgiving…I’m so ignorant I don’t even know what the Americans give thanks for.
Later, I read that Australia has been using the ‘Black Friday’ selling campaign for about five years. Who noticed? Not me!
So, next question:
Australia and 'Black Friday'?
Without the Thanksgiving marker, or any public holidays, Black Friday is currently not a big event in Australia. ... Cyber Monday, the Monday after Black Friday, popular for online shopping super sales, has even lower awareness in Australia”.
Cyber Monday!!!!!!???? Cyber Monday??? Cyber bloody Monday????
What on earth is that supposed to be? I must have been living under a rock, as I have never encountered these strange commemorative sales days.
In Australia, our ‘Black Friday’ used to be all about the horrendous bushfires of 1939:
“The Victorian bushfires of 13 January 1939, known as Black Friday, were the culmination of several years' drought in the state, following by high temperatures and strong winds. These conditions fanned several fires – some of which had been burning since early December – into a massive fire front.”
We have had other, even worse bushfires.
One referred to as ‘Black Saturday’ in 2009, killed 173 people.
So, really, our ‘Black’ days are nothing to celebrate!
To any intelligent Australian, using the term ‘Black Friday’ as a maniacal selling tool should be nearer to an insult than an encouragement to go out and buy, buy, buy!.
Actually, ‘Black’ any day is nothing to really celebrate in U.S. either.
“Black Thursday is the name given to Thursday, October 24, 1929, when panicked investors sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging 11 percent at the open in very heavy volume. Black Thursday began the Wall Street crash of 1929, which lasted until October 29, 1929.”
So, this ‘Black Friday’ is just another marketing ploy dreamed up to get the gullible out and about, with their credit cards at the ready.
I truly think Australia could well do without it.
PS: The picture I have used to accompany this little whinge was taken on Australia’s ‘Black Friday’ in 1939.
He’s a handsome bird.
Where else does he go?
I suspect he visits the back of the bakery across the road.
He’s been here a few times, bringing a piece of bread with him. Sometimes the piece of bread is too big for him to manage. He’s smart. He perches on the edge of the birdbath in our courtyard and drops the bread into the water, making the wet bread easy for him to eat.
Yesterday the lump of bread was bigger than usual. It looked like the bottom half of a bread roll.
At the birdbath, the handsome crow dropped his meal into the water. He grabbed small wet pieces hungrily into his beak but I could see he was never going to eat the whole thing.
I made a note to myself to remove what was left after the crow flew off, but I forgot to do so.
It wasn’t until the next day that I went to remove the soggy bread. There was no identifiable bread in the water; no sign of anything bread-like. What had been a piece of bread roll had completely dissolved, turning the water into murky, milky, unpleasant gunk.
Perhaps any bread left in water for 24 hours would end up like this but it did make me wonder what the modern bread recipe consists of.
Popped into Kmart the other day for a T-shirt for my husband.
Made a quick selection and proceeded to the big ‘PLEASE PAY HERE’ sign. All of the eight register points were closed, with an airport-like barrier set up to prevent customers from entering the area.
So, it’s ‘self-checkout’ only now. I AM SO ANGRY!
A similar thing happened in Target a few months ago. But at least they still have two registers where people like me can front up and expect a ‘service person’ to manage the transaction.
(I do this, not because I am unable to master the do-it-yourself register, but I refuse to not give an employee something to do).
But, not so Kmart. It’s do-it-yourself only.
At first, I thought I would just dump the T-shirt on the nearest shelf and walk out, but then I told myself that this is the ‘progress’ I have to tolerate.
So, I joined the queue.
Yes, there was a bloody queue to serve yourself.
Let me repeat that: There was a queue to wait in before being able to serve yourself!
Efficient? I think not!
After waiting for a while in said queue, a woman waiting behind me pointed to a newly vacated register. I made my way over to it, only to find a sign declaring, ‘CARD ONLY’.
The T-shirt I was buying cost $3.75. I was damned if I would use my EFTPOS card for that amount, especially as I had $4 cash in my hand at the ready.
So, back to the queue to wait for a vacant machine that actually accepted CASH.
Yes, I know, cash is only used by old decrepit people unused to modern technology.
As I fumed, I looked back at the eight deserted registers and wondered what happened to the salespeople who, not so long ago, worked there.
Are they all on ‘New Start’ now? (Paid by the taxpayers).
I know that having to pay only $3.75 for a man’s T-shirt is amazing. It is so very much cheaper than (equivalent) I would have paid 30 years ago. I suppose we are supposed to feel lucky that clothes cost so little. (It’s called ‘fast fashion’ apparently).
But, if that T-shirt had cost twice as much — even four times as much, which would still have been cheap—would that have possibly allowed Kmart to employ more staff, without affecting their ever-important profits?
(And with an added bonus of making people think twice before buying clothing items en masse that end up in landfill).
Don’t be fooled by the words, ‘progress’, ‘efficiency’, ‘convenience’ or ‘time-saving’.
We, the public are being ripped off. Not only do we have to do the ‘work’ of checking out our own purchases, but we, the public are left paying (via our government) for every person denied a job in this greedy and heartless retail sector.
As an aside: Things can only get worse/better, with some Woolworths stores now trialling a ‘scan-and-go system, where customers scan the goods on their iPhone as they select them off the shelves…and bingo! Shopping done, with never a queue – or an interaction with another human being. Wow. How good is progress?
No strength to whinge about politics today…
Instead here are some Musings on happiness.
Yes, I know, it’s a big topic, which philosophers have written about and psychologists have tried to unravel. Self-help books have been written (and sold!) on the subject but, happiness, I guess, is mainly the art of feeling positive.
The current Dalai Lama says:
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
Sounds pretty accurate to me. Think about it.
In the 19th century, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying:
“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
Another fairly accurate summation, I would think.
Then there’s this favourite gem of wisdom:
“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world:
someone to love,
something to do,
and something to hope for.”
These words are often attributed to the U.S. author, Tom Bodett.
But many people claim it more likely originated from Immanuel Kant, the Prussian German philosopher (1724-1804), who also said (so it is claimed):
“Happiness is not an ideal of reason, but of imagination”
“Morality is not the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness.”
Now, that’s a good one. Mull over it for a while!
So, what is happiness?
A feeling of happiness can often just appear, with no obvious reason, apart from the fact that everything is ‘going well’.
I think that happiness is often merely the absence of UNhappiness.
Happiness is worth pursuing, but I’m not sure it’s a pursuable commodity.
Yet, perhaps we should take note of the wise sayings above.
* * * * * * * *
Meanwhile, life is good when over 54,000 Australians bothered to place a vote for what they considered to be ‘The Australian Bird of the Year’. That news makes me happy, in a time when political shenanigans are constantly suspect and the country is on fire.
For birds to briefly take centre stage shines a little light of happiness into our days.
For anyone interested, the final ten popular birds are:
Climate Change is bugging me again…still.
Sorry to be political…BUT:
“PM Scott Morrison told a room full of mining lobbyists that he's begun work on legislation to outlaw climate activism – banning climate protests, boycotts and "disruptive" strikes.”
This is such an outrageous proposition that it even made news in London and New York!
“I’ll Punish Climate Activists” (‘quoting’ PM Morrison) was a headline in The Times (London).
“Why is Australia Trying to Shut Down Climate Activism?" The New York Times headline.
How embarrassing! How appalling!
I didn’t think that silencing dissent belonged in Australia. But here it is! And other parts of the world are shocked.
A couple of days after the talk of banning climate protests, came this news:
‘The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists.’
‘Eleven thousand scientists from around the world have “unequivocally” declared a climate emergency, calling for “major transformations” in the ways society functions…
The statement — signed by scientists from 153 different countries, including more than 350 Australians — warns of “untold suffering” if the climate crisis is not addressed soon, noting it is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. The report suggests six critical steps be taken, including curbing growing population and leaving fossil fuels in the ground, with scientists arguing they have a “moral obligation” to warn humanity and “tell it like it is”.
So, what can we do if PM Morrison is not heading the facts — and is threatening those protestors who do (rightly) head the facts?
I’m old enough to have marched in Anti-Vietnam war moratoriums.
I thought I was now too old to fire up enough to be part of a protest march, but show me where the next Climate Action one is please!
I have children and grandchildren. I want them to be able to live in a world that is not alien to human life.
I have family in UK and, as we wonder how they are coping with Boris and the Brexit Deal/No Deal, they are wondering how we are coping with a government who talks of punishing anyone who disagrees with their worship of coal.
And, to be even handed:
While most of the (enlightened) world is attempting to grow Billions of trees, we have the Queensland premier recently giving the go-ahead to clear hundreds more hectares of forest “To save 500 jobs” (did she mean ‘votes’?):
‘Palaszczuk Government takes action to support timber industry jobs’
(This added to the already well over a million hectares cleared in past few years in Qld.)
What are our leaders (of all persuasions) doing to us? Doing to the planet?
More than “Wrecking the joint” (to misquote Alan Jones!).
They are wrecking lives and wrecking the future of our planet.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.