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Avoid Pepper Spray, Shop Online

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Sunday November 27, 2011 )

Now there’s another good reason for consumers to shop online – for their physical safety.

Even though marketing and related activities form a big part of my career and I know a lot of merchants depend heavily on the holiday shopping season, I absolutely hate this time of the year.

Far from being a time for goodwill to all men, it tends to bring out the worst in people and over the stupidest things.

Each year, the Xmas advertising starts a little earlier and gets a little more shallower. The crowds for Black Friday sales also seem to grow larger – and more aggressive.

As I grow older, I’m increasingly learning that “civilized” behavior is a very thin veneer. The old saying goes “civilized society is only three square meals away from anarchy” – or one major electronics discount it would appear.

I was shocked by the report of a woman in the USA using pepper spray in order to push through the crowds at a sale to secure a bargain XBox. Reports say 20 people were injured by this person’s antics.

Consumers and merchants alike share the blame. Merchants whip up the frenzy, consumers act on the spin.

“Avoid the crowds” is starting to take on a very new meaning as a plus for online shopping. It’s going beyond bypassing the general annoyance of being in the midst of so many people and now has personal safety benefits.

If you have an online store or work for a company that does; consider moving more of your blockbuster sales to online only. You can beat the drum all you like and be relatively assured no-one will get trampled, crushed, maced, shot, or knifed when you open your virtual doors on the day.

Additionally, you might attract more customers who wouldn’t attend to one of these insane bricks and mortar events even if you paid them. I think a certain type of person attends these sales; and they are people I really like to avoid.

Side note: early estimates show Black Friday sales hit around $11.4 billion, up 6.6 per cent compared to 2010 and the biggest Black Friday so far.

I’m sure those folks who copped the pepper spray will be happy to hear it.


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