Black Friday fatigue

November 27th, 2023

Together with

Buyer’s fatigue. Welcome back, FutureParty people. We’re not sure about you, but we may have gone a little too hard this weekend with the holiday shopping. Between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and now, Cyber Monday, our bank accounts could use a break… and so could our mailman. Good luck, Damian.

In other news… Black Friday ain’t what it used to be, businesses hit the subscribe button, and the future of AI is divided.

Top Trends

YouTube → Renaissance

Google → Marty Krofft

Reddit → Grammys

TikTok → “Whatcha Say”

Spotify → “Agora Hills”

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Black Friday… or Black November? // Illustration by Kate Walker

Has Black Friday lost all meaning?

The Future. 2023 marks the 99th anniversary of Black Friday, but what was once a one-day event has extended well beyond 24 hours, sometimes stretching several weeks. With consumers pointing out that many holiday sales begin as soon as Halloween wraps up, Black Friday could be obsolete within 20 years.

A month-long “shopping day”
Black Friday, the unofficial holiday of American consumerism, isn’t what it used to be.

  • As deals now become available as early as October, many consumers have already found their bargains by the time Thanksgiving rolls around. “The way most [retailers] capture demand is by targeting early demand,” Craig Johnson, founder of the retail consultancy Customer Growth Partners, told NYT.

  • Black Friday sales have also circulated internationally, so what was once an American cultural event is now global.

A resilient consumer
Despite inflation and climbing interest rates, people are still shelling out for the holidays. Holiday spending increased 12.7% in 2021 and 5.3% in 2022. The National Retail Federation predicts that holiday sales will jump 3% to 4% from last year, close to pre-pandemic levels.

While the days when people slept outside Best Buy to nab discounted TVs may be gone, Black Friday is still code for the shopping mania that always takes over at this time of year.

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Subscribe to thrive

Businesses want you to hit that subscribe button

The Future. Most people would rather buy products and services as they go but still sign up for subscriptions because companies don’t give them much choice. If the subscription model limits options, it could ultimately reinforce economic inequities, as only the most profitable customers might be able to shell out for subscriptions in the long term.

The illusion
We don’t just subscribe to streaming services anymore, explains Axios. We pay for every type of monthly membership now, from car washes and food delivery to personal care and pet toys — which helps the company but hurts the customer.

  • Businesses can earn more upfront and over time by developing customer loyalty with subscriptions.

  • They can also mine subscribers for data and use it to design their products and services.

The reality
Some customers may be excluded from company goodwill if they don’t buy into subscriptions. 

For example, a car wash might make non-subscribers deal with longer wait times, or a hotel might restrict room cleanings to guests with subscriptions.


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Post-turkey glow up

Forget about fighting through Black Friday crowds for those discounted toaster ovens. This year, elevate your skincare with Standard Self Care.

Standard Self Care is everything you’d want in a skincare brand. No more empty promises and sketchy ingredients. Just transparency and a commitment to all the buzzwords we love: bioactive, non-toxic, vegan, and no nasties like parabens or silicones.

Their debut lineup is a game-changer: Hydrating Omega + Cleansing Balm, Hyaluronic Daily Moisturizer, and Omega + Cell Regenerating Eye Cream. And here’s the best part — cosmeceuticals. Their products go deep into your skin and make it look like you’re getting younger. Because, wait, aren’t you?

This Black Friday, skip the chaos and treat yourself to some science-meets-beauty skincare goodness. Buy one, get one free on ALL PRODUCTS with the code Cyber2023.


Duking it out // Illustration by Kate Walker

The two tribes of AI

The Future. In a world increasingly shaped by artificial intelligence, a fierce debate rages between two contrasting philosophies: the “doomers” and the “accelerationists.” This divide has been highlighted by the recent tumult at OpenAI — and the outcome of this debate could significantly shape the future of humanity as we know it.

A battle of extremes
The debate between AI doomers and accelerationists is coming to a head. 

  • Doom and gloom. So-called “doomers,” fearing a dystopian future, advocate for a significant slowdown in AI development. They worry about the existential risks for humanity, emphasizing safety and ethical concerns.

  • Vroom vroom. Meanwhile, “accelerationists” are all-in for rapid AI advancement. They believe in harnessing AI to solve critical global issues and, in more extreme cases, envision AI transcending human existence, reshaping humanity itself.

Zooming out
The controversy at OpenAI, marked by the world’s fastest CEO ousting and reinstatement, has illuminated these conflicting ideologies. 

While the facts and details remain murky, many saw the OpenAI controversy as a microcosm of the broader AI debate — the tension between those insisting on moving slower and emphasizing safety/ethical concerns (the board) vs. those vying for rapid innovation and technotopia (the Sam Altman crew). 

Or, maybe we could all just, you know, talk it out — like how Altman and board member Adam D’Angelo did over Thanksgiving?

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Get down with data

Data, data, data — it’s huge in today’s world, but let’s be real, understanding it can be a total brain teaser. Enter Chartr, the visual newsletter that makes sense of all the data behind the big headlines.

Their newsletter is totally lit, filled with eye-catching charts and legit insights into business, tech, and entertainment. And you can get the lowdown in just a quick, five-minute morning read.


We ask the hard-hitting questions.

Are you an “overemployed” person? (IYKYK)

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

38.8% of you voted Creepy on Friday’s poll: What do you think of AI photo editing tools?

“We will need to adapt to the fact that a photo is no longer ‘proof.’ During that transition, expect chaos.”

“Zero ethical thought is being put into the race forward and faster.”

“It was already too hard to tell when something was fake…”


The best curated daily stories from around the web

Media, Music, & Entertainment

In partnership with Marketing Scroll

  • The Sphere in Vegas collabed with Pizza Hut to promote its $7 Deal Lover’s menu on its massive exterior LED screen. Read More → Forbes

  • California schools are now requiring media literacy as a subject. In other words: how to spot fake news. Read More → usatoday

  • Banksy’s secret identity may have finally been revealed. Read More → artnews

  • From our partners: What if you could stay updated on everything that matters with just three minutes a day? That’s exactly what Marketing Scroll does with their daily newsletter, covering everything from retail to marketing with short, 60-word versions of the latest news and delivering maximum value in minimum time. Subscribe and become the most informed marketer today!

Fashion & E-Commerce

  • BAPE, Disney, and BE@RBRICK are teaming up to reveal a special anniversary, Mickey Mouse-inspired BE@RBRICK. Read More → hypebeast

  • Fast fashion brands are getting a visit from a silent and faceless eight-foot-tall zombie made from massive piles of discarded clothing. Read More → dazeddigital

  • Shopify’s annual Black Friday Cyber Monday (BCFM) Live Globe shows how shoppers are behaving around the world in real time. Read More → fastcompany

Tech, Web3, & AI

  • According to Elon Musk, Grok will be integrated directly into X with its own unique tab within the platform — at least, for Premium+ subscribers. Read More → techcrunch

  • Porch piracy is costing the retail economy billions every year. AI could help. Read More → fastcompany

  • The Pentagon is reportedly moving towards the deployment of AI-controlled drones that can autonomously decide to kill humans. Read More → insider

Creator Economy

  • Kanga Coolers went from a dorm-room startup to being featured in a MrBeast YouTube video. Read More → linkedin

  • The great mall-brand renaissance is underway, fueled by TikTok’s obsessions with mall retailers like Banana Republic and Gap. Read More → highsnobiety

  • Instagram will now let users worldwide download public reels straight to their devices. Read More → techcrunch

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Today’s email was written by Kait Cunniff and Melody Song.
Edited by Nick Comney.
Published by Darline Salazar.

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