There’s always a lot of hype surrounding the January sales, but they rarely seem to live up to the hype. Although I used to always get some new clothes when they came round, I’m getting less and less interested in them. Perhaps this is a sign of getting old or there potentially being some truth in the idea that people from Scotland are somewhat averse to spending money. Anyway, this week I’m going to share a few reason why I’m less than excited about the chance to grab a few supposed bargains. This cynical attitude towards consumerism may not come as a surprise to people who have read my earlier post Baby ‘essentials’ – things that you’re told you need but could probably do without. It seems that there are more and more sales taking place these days, especially now that ‘Black Friday’ sales are now being promoted here in the UK despite their origins being connected to an American public holiday. When it comes to the more familiar sales on this side of the pond, there’s a sort of predictable and repetitive hype. Certain stores seem to proclaim ‘our biggest ever sale’ each time they start their annual post-Christmas sale. Somewhat unsurprisingly they appear not to broadcast the message ‘this sale is not as big as any of our planned future post-Christmas sales’.
What frustrates me with the Black Friday sales is they come in the run-up to Christmas and often seem to focus on large electrical items. This is something that I have issues with on two levels. Firstly, there are quite a few reasons why I don’t see widescreen televisions as fantastic stocking fillers (mainly size and cost). Secondly, these sales seem to be encouraging people to spend money than they would otherwise by buying discounted non-present items at the same time as they are likely to also be buying Christmas presents. When it comes to post-Christmas sales, companies seem to be encouraging people to keep on spending more and more after splashing out on all the presents and entertaining that is a key part of Christmas for so many. Part of the reason I have the sorts of attitudes I’ve described so far may well be that I’m getting less materialistic as I get older. This year, my wife and I decided not to get each other lots and lots of presents. We both got each other some small presents and agreed that we’d each organise a family day out for each other as a sort of post-Christmas present. Time is something together as a family is something that is particularly precious to us, and something that we were able to enjoy plenty of during the holiday season. With that in mind, one of the Christmas presents we asked for when suggestions were requested by family members was an annual ticket for a local butterfly farm that our son likes visiting.
I’m also a bit cynical about sales because I don’t see something that is discounted but not strictly necessary as being a fantastic bargain. This utilitarian attitude may explain why the only things that I’ve bought so far in the January sales are a filing cabinet and five hours of usage of a parking space. These two purchases were things that I was going to need anyway, and the sales meant that I was able to get them at reduced prices. That said, I ended up getting a refund on the parking space as a family change of plans meant that I ended up travelling to Manchester via train rather than car. Filing cabinets are probably not what you would call a fun or exciting sales purchase. Indeed, few people post pictures of themselves on social media with captions such as ‘look at this amazing office furniture than I got in the sales!’. It did cross my mind that doing so would be one way of promoting this post but I’m not sure that I could bring myself to describe a robust and functional filing cabinet as ‘amazing’ so soon after criticising the hype that goes along with many major sales.
As it happens, our son really likes the filing cabinet we got in the January sales. This isn’t because he now uses it to store his ever growing collection of paintings according to date and colour (which would a challenge if he inherited my colourblindness anyway), but rather because it came in a really big cardboard box which has now become a play house. In fact, I think the retailer missed a trick by not advertising the filing cabinet by using the slogan ‘20% off and comes with a free play house for toddlers’. Despite my cynicism towards certain aspects of marketing, maybe there’s a bit of a marketer in me after all. What do you think of the January sales? Do you share my cynicism or are they a good time for getting some bargains? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+. Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it. I’ve added this post to the following parent blogging link-ups: