Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving when we turn our thoughts from food, family, friends, and gratitude and get into a public fight in a mall because someone took the shoes we wanted. A truly American tradition.
Black Friday is a consumer-driven version of The Jerry Springer Show that plays across America with approximately 135 million participants. You have stores “innocently” spending a month ramping up the hype, sending out millions of emails and thousands of commercials. You have brightly colored flyers advertising “doorbusters,” limited run items at discounted prices that you can only get if you’re willing to pee in a can outside of Best Buy for eight hours. You have stores opening at weird hours, facilitating the madness with sleep deprivation and poor night vision. You have overworked police forces needing to keep Ned and Ed and Pearl and Cheryl apart as they fight for 30% off an LED smart TV. And all so that we can get the best deals on gifts we will use to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior/family/love. It’s pretty fucked up.
Already there are news reports about massive traffic jams, brawls in malls, shoppers assaulting police officers, and other loud confrontations. And, worst of all, no one really cares. Those of us that don’t want to participate stay at home, either waiting a day or two until the chaos dies down or simply doing our shopping online (which, BTW, has the exact same deals and won’t get you stabbed on your way to the car) and make jokes like this Black Friday Buick commercial from 2014 that showed a man with a black eye. Apparently, assaulting each other for shit is all good fun and games and indicates nothing worrying about the state of our country at all.
I understand that there can be really good deals today and that getting to save a few hundred dollars can be really important. I’m not made of money, and due to some medical bills, my Christmas will be rather scanty this year. I’m not going to fault people for buying something discounted. That’s a sensible choice.
What I will fault people for is resorting to violence to get their way and, more importantly, stores facilitating this violence. It’s common knowledge that stores deliberately stock limited amounts of hotly-advertised items just to drive up the frenzy and get more people rushing to their stores to buy, buy, buy (And if you are there? Well, you might as well grab something else.). It’s like the Jerry Springer jokes where Jerry is telling the women the other person insulted them and handing them a knife. “Oh, no, I don’t want a commotion — but here are the tools to cause one.” It’s irresponsible.
In a few hours, I’ll be posting some Black Friday tips to help make this day easier for everyone, but until then, I hope you’ll keep your cool and realize that not getting a Xbox at 25% is not the end of the world. And that punching, kicking, and tripping people is assault and would absolutely get you charged on any other day.
Oh, and also? Today is National Native American Heritage Day, the day the federal government recognizes Native Americans, their history, their contributions, and their struggles. And a third of Americans are spending this day buying useless shit. Come on, guys, get it together.
* Photo taken from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2852585/Mayhem-Black-Friday-begins-Shoppers-clash-supermarkets-trying-grab-bargains-Boots-Game-Curry-s-PC-world-websites-crash-thousands-start-hunt-Christmas-deals.html