TGIF – Black Friday (Irrational) Behavior

November 30, 2012 by Bill Bradley

As the week winds down, we wind down with some tidbits for your information, education, health, and enjoyment.

Quote of the Week: “Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need.”  Will Rogers

Humor Break: Our favorite couple went shopping on Black Friday.  Reportedly they had the following conversation in the shopping mall:

Bev: Oh Al, wait here.  I am going to try on that beautiful dress in the window.

Al: I suggest you try it on in the fitting room.

Stat of the Week: 100s of reported Black Friday mishaps.  Last Friday I reported on “office turkeys”.  This week I would like to report on Apes, Pigs, and Predators caged up in malls last week on “Black Friday”.

“Behaving like animals” is actually a compliment.  Animals tend to be very social.  To say to an animal “You’re behaving like a human” is a real insult to the animal.  They rarely commit random acts of violence. Not so Humans on Black Friday.  The new norm: What to take shopping: guns, Tasers and/or pepper spray?

Here are just a few of the headlines from last Friday:

“2 Shot Over Wal-Mart Parking Space In Florida”

“Gun Pulled On A Man Who Tried To Cut In Line At A Texas Sears”

“Fistfight Brakes Out At A South Philadelphia Wal-Mart”

“Two Shoppers Were Arrested For Fighting At A Michigan JC Penny”

“Man Abandons 2-year-old For 51” TV”

“5 Men Rob 14-year-old boy Outside Bed Bath & Beyond”

and my personal favorite headline of the day –

“Wal-Mart Employees Are Revolting” (Wal-Mart employees and supporters protesting employment practices)

Black Friday tends to bring out the dark side of human behavior.

Action Tip: We all need to remember the advice of the Beatles a half century ago “Money can’t buy me love” and the advice delivered by Ken Nowack in his weekly post this past Monday on this site: “Believe that ‘richness’ is measured not by how much money we have but how much others love us….”  If all else fails, indulge in this bumper sticker philosophy: “Practice random acts of kindness”.

The Developmental Corner: Why people act and behave the way they do is at times mystifying.  No more so than on Black Friday.  I invite you to join me in taking a free on-line college course called A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior by Duke University Professor Dan Ariely.  Below is a synopsis of the course.

“Behavioral economics and the closely related field of behavioral finance couple scientific research on the psychology of decision making with economic theory to better understand what motivates investors, employees, and consumers. This course will be based heavily on my own research. We will examine topics such as how emotion rather than cognition determines economic decisions, “irrational” patterns of thinking about money and investments, how expectations shape perceptions, economic and psychological analyses of dishonesty by presumably honest people, and how social and financial incentives combine to motivate labor by everyday workers and CEOs alike.”

The 6-week course begins March 25, 2013.  But don’t wait to sign up.  Do it today.  It only takes about 20 seconds and you will get reminders near the actual start date.  You can always quit later and get a full refund (remember, it is free!).  If you aren’t interested in taking the course, or don’t have time (7-10 hours a week), consider reading his excellent book Predictably Irrational (revised).

Interesting final fact about Dan Ariely: You gotta love a professor who is a founding member of The Center for Advanced Hindsight (a group that bills itself as “available for consultation and parties”)

Bill Bradley (mostly) retired after 35 years in organizational consulting, training and management development. During those years he worked internally with seven organizations and trained and consulted externally with more than 90 large and small businesses, government agencies, hospitals and schools.

Posted in Engagement, Leadership Development

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  1. You had my interest at the beginning with the Will Rogers quote and kept it fully till the end with mention of the Center for advanced Hindsight. Lots of humor throughout…perfect way to start a Friday morning. Thanks and have a nice weekend.

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