On Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, I’m stunned to learn that America’s Black Friday is retail pocket change compared to China’s ‘Single’s Day’ – a 14$ billion dollar one-day sales event and media circus driven by Alibabadotcom on ‘the’ day, 11/11. I may have missed it this year, but next year – I’ll be ready at my keyboard with credit card in hand!
Single’s Day was an obscure observance by university students until Alibaba plucked it from the unprofitable darkness, and turned it into a 4-hour television extravaganza that sold 1$ billion in the first eight minutes.
John Oliver describes the TV gala: “It’s one part Jerry Lewis Telethon, part American Idol, and part taking peyote in a Chinese restaurant that is also a video arcade.” Where else will you see a sad and extremely awkward James Bond (Daniel Craig), Adam Lambert singing atop a throne of iron spikes and Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood hawking presidential M&Ms? Spacey also sold a replica of Underwood’s class ring from the Sentinel, a presidential desk, Underwood’s glasses, trench coat and – the hat. For variety, there were storm troopers, clear ball-suit fights, and a ball-pit of death.
Congratulations China, we may be buying all of your stuff, but it appears we’ve had some influence upon you too. American consumerism and Barnum and Baily are alive and on steroids.