Ancient Wisdom

Hello ,

Greetings from La Cala de Mijas, Southern Spain, my house has a good coastal view but I can't quite see Gibraltar, but if I walk outside and down the road a little, on a clear day you can catch a glimpse of The ROCK.
The Rock that this morning is a stumbling block/rock to Mrs May's Brexit deal. More later.

Last week I was discussing Elton John and the end of the (retailing) world as we know it. You can read about it here.

I should I suppose wish you a happy Black Friday!
So Happy Black Friday to you.. may all your tills be ringing all the time. And may all your customers be happy and return.

So I was thinking about collective mass hysteria, sad I know, but it's a hobby of mine. What is it that compels every retailer to slash prices to the bone at the very same time, and every shopper to lose normal tight control of financial reason and shop for stuff they maybe don't even need. Slightly mad no?
Well Black Friday is imported from America land, where it follows Thanksgiving Day (which is always on a Thursday) after Thanksgivings day it's kind of officially Christmas, and with all those warm and woolly endorphins generated by homely gatherings the average American feels in the mood to shop for gifts for said homely family - the Friday after is given as a holiday for most people. Hence Black Friday. Black because of the traffic jams. And the mood you end up feeling in after been crushed in queues, conned into buying stuff you don't need and arguing about it with the previously homely family.
So.. because they do it over the pond.. we just copy, and do the same - even though (thank goodness) we don't have a Thanksgiving Day to do it after or even a holiday to do it on. So it's national international even mass hysteria.
Even China has adopted something like it. Invented by Jack Mar at Alibaba, they came up with dubious logic of adopting Singles Day (a day to celibate single people on 11th November - 11/11 all those ones get it?) as a shopping day and the China version of Black Friday. All Chinese retails followed Alibaba and now it is a crazy success.. sales of $30.8 billion on Alibaba alone this year. Even an idea with dubious logic can be an unqualified success with the power of mass hysteria behind it.

The human brain is an amazing thing, like a super self-aware computer, but like a computer it has quite a few bugs. One of them is the hysteria bug. The human brain has evolved to survive (of course). So we instinctively learned it is safest to cross the river, where everyone else crosses, to eat food that everyone else eats to comply with our tribes identity to earn a place and group protection. Humans are like sheep, we just tend to follow what our friends and family and peers do and believe. It's a bug, but a very powerful one and you might think you are not programmed - hard-wired - by it, but you (me included) are certainly making and taking actions simply because it's what everyone else does. Louis Theroux weird weekends - I was watching again on Netfix, perfectly illustrate the weird stuff people do when all in their social bubble do the same. The brain evolved that way to protect us and keep the species alive, so it is probably a good idea that we do follow what other people (well the ones we trust) do.
But what happens when clever people figure out how to hack that bug (and other bugs actually) to their advantage using new technology that we haven't yet evolved to take into account. Enter the Russian social media hackers.. disrupting your bubble... and that's just one example.

So now you know that your brain has a bug.. now you know about it can you counter act it? The experts (eg Daniel Pink - he is amazing) say.. well.. kind of... sort of... even when you know you have been hacked, you will probably make the same errors.
It's a tough one to unhack.. happy Black Friday Shopping :)

Anyway that's enough thoughts for today..
Lets just be glad that the mass hysteria that is Christmas will compel millions of people to buy each other gifts simple because everybody else is doing the same. It's keeping us all in a job!!
Some people would argue that religion (he wrote treading carefully over the egg shells) is just mass hysteria. Yes.. from one clear-eyed perspective it's strange how a billion people would die rather than eat pork, and in another bubble a billion people would be mortified to eat beef. Put enough people in a room together who believe the most improbable things and the new comer in that room will believe the same - because we evolved that way. Daniel Pink proves this with his social experiments.

One last thought.. Understanding these type of bugs in the human brain, and exploiting them (ethically please) can make you a supa-dupa retailer!!

So Happy (Mass Hysteria) Black Friday!!
And as all the world slips into buying gifts mode.. are you stocked up with the latest and greatest.
This year we have more winning gifts than ever before.. check out the deals below.
WE ARE BEHIND.. but working incredibly hard to turn around orders. Some orders get shipped quicker than others - simply because sometimes we are waiting for picking locations to be refilled, or production items to be made. Often, very often - it's that mass hysteria thing - everyone orders the same damn thing at once and we sell out. With almost a thousand orders in process at anyone moment, some processed but not paid, we haven't yet devised a system that can discern out of stock accurately. When you start to think about it it's complicated. Anyway I promise you we are doing our best, and you have my word, we will always credit you immediately for anything we can't ship.

In an obvious act of mass hysteria (probably) 96% of Gibraltar voters opted to stay in the EU.. yet sorry guys you have no choice in the matter. Now it seems the Spanish who would like the Rock for themselves, have tossed a spanner in the works and are demanding a say in the future of Gib, in return for endorsing Mrs Mays woolly proposals. Is she stuck between a Rock and a Hard Brexit..? Haha.. I should be a headline writer :) We live in interesting times.

Speaking of mass hysteria is it too early to wish you a Happy Christmas..?
I thought so.. I'll do it next week.

All the best.



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