You know what I’ve been thinking about lately? Black Friday.
Last Thursday evening, after participating in the great American holiday tradition of eating and drinking excessively, I settled in to watch some TV. I didn’t particularly care what was on I just needed a place to anchor my ever-expanding ass.
While digesting my Thanksgiving feast (a meal which could easily be described as awesome) I sat through three-plus hours of television (which could be easily be described as mediocre) and noticed the local news predictably teasing their Black Friday stories; each affiliate having sent one of their crack reporters to canvass the local box stores.
Has it been a year already?
If you’re unfamiliar with the term Black Friday you’re either living a sheltered existence on a rural commune or you’re really stupid. Or maybe both. It is, of course, the post-Thanksgiving shopping orgy that takes place at retail stores all over the U.S. of A. Personally, I’ve always hated the Black Friday moniker because it doesn’t sound like a consumer holiday as much as it sounds like the name of a bad heavy metal band or a re-make of the movie Friday with an all African-American cast. Oh, wait…
It is on this holiest of days when prices are dramatically slashed on loads of merchandise and all one has to do to take advantage is rise at the crack of dawn, endure long lines in frigid temperatures, then battle hordes of ruthless Christmas shoppers for the privilege of purchasing overpriced crap from China. I assume Black Friday is one of the reasons Europeans hate us. Our excessive arrogance and lackluster foreign policy are the other reasons.
People who know me might be surprised to learn my true feelings toward Black Friday. After all I like a good deal as much as the next guy and I love overpriced crap from China. So what’s my beef?
Well, to start there’s the idea of getting up at five in the morning after the most gluttonous holiday on the calendar. Then there’s the act of being herded like cattle with a group of shop-happy strangers who’d easily kick me in the groin if I got between them and that laptop that’s on sale. And I’d endure all of this, for what? So I can save $100 on a Blu-ray player? Thanks, but I’ll sleep-in instead.
Unfortunately, this year’s Black Friday truly lived up to its macabre name when a Wal-Mart employee in Long Island was trampled to death by bargain-thirsty shoppers. Absolutely horrific. And as one union representative said after the tragedy, it “could have been avoided.”
One way to avoid unwanted deaths in the aisles of box stores would be to stop having sales that require poor and middle class people to line up in the freezing cold like animals before sending them in to fight for trendy merchandise. Another way would be for these people to think twice about participating in this kind of carnage. If you’re up at daybreak on Black Friday because these sales are the only way you can afford to buy the Playstation 3 you so desperately have to have, then you really need to sit down and reevaluate your life. Maybe it’s time to put that money in a savings account or a piggy bank.
But then again, what do I know? I’m just a jackass with an opinion who’s more than willing to pay top dollar for appliances if it means sleeping in slothfully AND not being part of a mob that crushes someone to death.
In this day and age, maybe that makes me the crazy one.