Black Eyed Friday

Only in America could there be a holiday weekend where the premise is to eat as much as you can only to be followed by a day where people buy as much as they can… and they call it Thanksgiving.

That’s right, Thanksgiving Day weekend, a day of mass consumption preceded by a day of mass consumerism. Thanksgiving is America’s second favorite holiday after Christmas and it’s plain to see why; it’s celebrated by eating, shopping, going into debt and watching the gladiators bleed on the gridiron; nothing could be closer to living the modern day American dream.

Thanksgiving and football aside, my real… beef is with the annual day of spending, better known as Black Friday. According to a report from ShopperTrak, American consumers spent $11.4 billion at retail stores this past Friday, it was the largest amount ever spent on the day that marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season.

Go broke appearing rich

My problem with Black Friday isn’t with people buying stuff per se; after all it’s what makes the economy move. My problem lies more with the mentality behind it. Black Friday for instance should be better known as Red Friday; individuals don’t go out into the madness and pay cash for the big screen TVs, dishwashers and computers, they use their credit cards, even worse they use the store credit cards (Sears card, Future Shop card, etc.).

By the time people pay off their purchases and the added interest with monthly installments, chances are they’d have spent more than the pre-sale cost of the item. One of the biggest problems we have today is the lack of patience, everybody has to have it now, that way of thinking is bleeding us dry and you can see it in people’s behavior at the mall.

I referenced football earlier by comparing the players to Roman Gladiators who back in the day would fight for their lives for the entertainment of others. These days, it doesn’t seem too extreme to associate gladiators to football players, nor does it seem too extreme to liken either of them to Black Friday Shoppers; the shopper being the gladiator and the gridiron/coliseum the “shopping maul”.

A woman in her thirties pepper spraying a crowd of twenty or so people just to get her hands on an Xbox, a small riot breaking out in a Wal-Mart over a $2.00 waffle maker, a few instances of police tasering shoplifters, one of which was a grandfather trying to protect his grandson from a mob of shoppers. It probably won’t be long until we see ordinary people shooting each other over a common teddy bear; where is Tickle Me Elmo when you need him?

There are a ton of crazy people out there much to my YouTube enjoyment, funny how they all shop at Wal-Mart. I’m not sure what goes through the minds of people who show a complete lack of concern for one’s fellow human beings in order to gain simple material possessions, whether it’s the horrible economy, getting that perfect Christmas gift or simply keeping up with the Joneses.

Black Friday leaves a black eye on the United States on an annual basis. Aggressive consumerism and mindless violence is the story year after year and they wonder why less fortunate countries continue to look down upon them. Perhaps it’s the two days at the end of November that are filled with gluttony and greed, better known as Thanksgiving.

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