Call me old fashioned, but the whole BLACK FRIDAY is just plain weird to me. I am not one of those who think of Thanksgiving as a religious holiday. I do love me some Thanksgiving, the extra days off, the big old sleep inducing gorge on tryptophan, the time spent with family, the beginning of the holiday season. I love all of that. But BLACK FRIDAY is stupid. While we were out with the family on Thanksgiving going to see “The Life of Pi” we had some time to kill in the huge strip mall near the movie theater. We wandered into the Wally World and there were people camped out waiting for the BLACK FRIDAY sale to begin. It was 7:00 on the day before BLACK FRIDAY and folks were literally sitting in camping chairs in certain departments waiting until 9:00 for the sales to begin. Some had been there for the entire day. A couple of teens were sitting in shopping carts, some brought lawn chairs, others were sitting in the store’s camping chairs, tags still on them – waiting. Just waiting.
I’m sure they made some savings. I’m certain that the volume of sales on that day were record breaking. I mean, how clever to get a jump on BLACK FRIDAY with what amounts to Thanksgiving Thursday sales. But these folks would normally be spending turkey day with girlfriends, children, grandparents – loved ones. Instead they were hanging out with bargain hunters. Waiting.
This year I didn’t hear of anyone killed in mad stampedes. I didn’t hear of anyone using mace on a crowd so they could buy a game system. Although 2 people were shot in Florida fighting over a parking space and there were numerous fistfights all over the nation. Of course there were near riots over the newest cell phone (the iPhone 15?).
We seem to have morphed into exactly what the retailers want us to be. Selfish fools who go into battle to get the latest-greatest-whatever. They get richer. We get stupider - even with our new smartphones. Even as Christians yell for getting the “Christ Back In Christmas!” we freak if we don’t have enough, spend enough, give enough, get enough. While charitable giving this year has stalled…
(The glacial pace of the economic recovery caused "Giving USA" researchers to make a far gloomier forecast about when a full recovery in charitable giving would occur.
"If we continue to grow at this rate, it will take more than a decade to get back to where we were in total giving in 2007," said Patrick Rooney, executive director of the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy, which compiles "Giving USA." http://chronicle.com/article/Charitable-Donations-Barely/132375/)
…it looks as if we are still on target to break records for BLACK FRIDAY. Get a load of this video-fight over the new "smartphone" (quotes are a must there). But no need to watch more than a few moments. Unless you have an air sickness bag.