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Letter from Your Unconscious on Why You are a Sucker for Black Friday

by Victor Rotariu 6 months ago in selfcare
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Shopping = heroin

Dear You,

I am Your Unconscious, with a Personal Service message to you.

Black Friday is upon us.

You said you are less consumerist this year.

You said you would rather save for buying a home in the countryside rather than spend on clothes and gadgets.

You said you don’t care about Black Friday.

You said you will do something for yourself on Black Friday. Maybe work on that course you are struggling with. Or do some painting. Or just relax with a good book.

But then Black Friday arrives, and all of this goes out the window.

A friend tells you they are buying a new smartphone because there is a good deal. Another tells you he saw the smartwatch he knew you wanted on offer.

Next thing you know, you are browsing online stores.

It starts out as just checking out the offer from your friend. But then you see another discount, and another, and another.

You start thinking maybe you could profit from these discounts. But you are not sure what you want. So you browse and browse.

As the day goes on, you indecision deepens. The more offers you see, the more uncertain you are. A lot of the things you see on offer are tempting although you did not want them before.

In the evening, it has become a desperate situation. You scroll and you scroll, searching for the ideal offer. But your indecision is internal, not external. You want to take up the opportunity, but are not ready to commit to large purchases which you had not planned beforehand.

You wind up buying a lot of medium-value things that you were not planning to buy before Black Friday. The next day you are full of buyer regret. You vow next year you will ignore Black Friday.

Your Unconscious on why it is a sucker for Black Friday

I (Your Unconscious) am hopelessly opportunistic

Look, you have to understand something. I grew up with nothing. I don’t mean like in a Dickens saccharine story of children in poverty. I mean really nothing.

I evolved for human hunter-gatherers in the savannah in the Paleolithic. We moved around. A lot.

How much do you think a human can carry when walking dozens of kilometers? And remain agile enough to avoid predators and forage for food? Not much.

Your ancestors had literally nothing. Some body coverings (e.g. proto-clothes) and a few rough stone tools. Maybe ten objects total.

I evolved when any one additional useful object was invaluable. Why? Because they were very hard to come by.

Imagine that there was no Amazon or mega-store. You could not buy anything. You had to make it yourself from stuff in nature.

The lowly handaxe took incredible effort and skill to make. Now it looks to you like a rock. But to your ancestors it was better than the iPhone and the car and the laptop combined. It was food and defense all in one.

So of course I evolved to want all the objects I can possibly get.

You would be too after a million-year ‘childhood’ in which you had literally nothing.

Give me a few hundred thousands year of this abundance of stuff and I will learn to be minimalist. But until that happens I will be a greedy opportunist.

Speaking of which, I am a sucker for discounts and special offers.

I come from a world where you did not know what tomorrow will bring. Maybe you are attacked by a sabretooth tiger. Maybe you break your leg. Maybe you find a wounded mammoth.

It pays to take every opportunity you find because everything is scarce and unpredictable.

So when I see an offer, I want it. It’s an opportunity that will disappear if we don’t take it now.

You keep telling me that offers are in fact abundant, not scarce. That there are countless offers from countless sellers. But you know I am a slow learner. Again, give me a hundred thousand years of offers and I will not even notice them anymore.

Until then, Black Friday is my heroin. I will empty your bank accounts to buy all the ‘maybe potentially useful but in fact you don’t need’ stuff that I see on offer.

With Naivete,

Yours Unapologetically Consumerist Unconscious


About the author

Victor Rotariu

Decoding the PaleoRobot brain that drives human behaviour

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