Shopping gimmicks work, at least we’re led to believe that “Black Friday”, “Day After Christmas”, “Back to School”, “Tax-Free Weekend”, etc. Sales create “prosperity”. This “prosperity” comes from increased business revenue In fact, they “work” so well I suggest having a shopping gimmick ever day of the year. No, I don’t recommend creating more holidays, nor do I support the “consumerism” associated with holidays. As a matter of fact, I like the idea of “Buy Nothing Day.” Although, I didn’t participate in “Buy Nothing Day” I also didn’t participate in any “Black Friday Sales”.
I didn’t participate in either because:
1)I actually needed to purchase a few items – mostly food related
2)I did not need or want anything that was on sale
To further explain the “prosperity” created by these shopping gimmicks, allow me to post the following “brain teaser” from the Mises blog:
“It is the month of August; a resort town sits next to the shores of a lake. It is raining, and the little town looks totally deserted. It is tough times, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit. Suddenly, a rich tourist comes to town. He enters the only hotel, lays a 100 dollar bill on the reception counter, and goes to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one.
The hotel proprietor takes the 100 dollar bill and runs to pay his debt to the butcher. The Butcher takes the 100 dollar bill and runs to pay his debt to the pig raiser. The pig raiser takes the 100 dollar bill and runs to pay his debt to the supplier of his feed and fuel. The supplier of feed and fuel takes the 100 dollar bill and runs to pay his debt to the town’s prostitute that, in these hard times, gave her “services” on credit. The hooker runs to the hotel, and pays off her debt with the 100 dollar bill to the hotel proprietor to pay for the rooms that she rented when she brought her clients there.
The hotel proprietor then lays the 100 dollar bill back on the counter so that the rich tourist will not suspect anything. At that moment, the rich tourist comes down after inspecting the rooms, and takes his 100 dollar bill, after saying he did not like any of the rooms, and leaves town.
No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now without debt, and looks to the future with a lot of optimism.”
Many purchases made on any of the major shopping days, are made using credit. By definition, credit can not create prosperity. If purchases are being made using credit on these shopping days, thereby not creating any prosperity, why would I support more shopping gimmicks that only increase debt, not prosperity? I don’t support increasing debt however, I do support a merger of philosophies of “tax-free weekend” and the “bargain-hunting” shopper.
First, government’s at all levels should eliminate sales tax on food and clothing – after all, these are for the most part basic necessities. Second, businesses should offer products at an affordable price. Lastly, consumer’s should be smart enough not to purchase what they can’t afford.