It comes but once a year. A magical consumer celebration of all things capitalism, commercialism and darwinism….the beloved American tradition of Black Friday. Fortunately many have come to recognize the wonder of Black Friday cannot be confined to a single day. Therefore it has extended into a five day celebration ending with cyber Monday and beginning on Black Friday’s Eve (also known as Thanksgiving).
Black Friday, the day we acquire what we want, lands suitably after the day we celebrate having enough.
Thanksgiving is commonly considered the awkward middle child in the holiday family. It sort of gets in the way a lot…
First we have Halloween which requires designing a costume worthy of praise, attending parties, hanging evil decorations in our homes, and providing a cornucopia of candy for demanding beggar children. Christmas decorations appear as soon as Halloween is over, along with the airing of Christmas commercials and music. Actually one of the only surviving “Thanksgiving” traditions is spending time preparing for Christmas.
See Christmas requires a lot from us: buying, wrapping and giving gifts, selecting and decorating trees, putting up lights, giving to the needy, requesting extra time off of work, flying out to see family, lying to our children, and all the while trying to remember the meaning of everything we’re doing.
Thanksgiving just doesn’t squeak for our attention like Halloween and Christmas do. Thanksgiving? It just asks that we eat a nice dinner and feel happy about our lives. And we can’t really give Thanksgiving that much because Black Friday needs our attention. In fact, if it weren’t for the necessary carbo-load before Black Friday’s shopping marathon, we might just cut out Thanksgiving all together.
Black Friday’s official kickoff begins Thanksgiving afternoon as we hold our loved ones at arms length while flipping through and highlighting the holy pages of discounts ads. Appropriately, after a peaceful day of grateful contentment with family, we go out before sunrise busting down doors with hostile strangers.
The day after the day we celebrate what we have, we literally storm retail stores to purchase more. This is a logical sequence of events because thinking about all of the wonderful things you have in life, like family, freedom, and having enough to eat, makes the gaps of what you don’t have become all the more apparent…like plasma screens, luxury bathrobes, and diamonds.
By the grace of retail, we are fortunate most of them open their stores for 24 straight hours and offer goods at extraordinary discounts. They recognize our immediate need to begin acquiring more things to appreciate for next year’s Thanksgiving.
But as the saying goes, “Nothing in life is ever (buy one get one) free.” You want a half-price Blu-Ray? You’re going to have to earn it in a Hunger Games-like fight to the death. Sure each year we suffer a few casualties as consumers die in their attempts to grab something off a shelf, but it’s the price we must pay. (Especially since the rest of us aren’t paying full price). It is a blood sacrifice the retailers demand. The tributes serve as reminders of the consequence of lack of speed and will to purchase. Trampling is a natural outcome when your legs can’t keep up with your desire for deals.
Best Buys, Walmarts and Targets across the nation become our Lord of the Flies battle grounds. Only the strongest will survive in bringing home the latest camera, TV, Xbox or dollhouse.
So it is my Black Friday wish this season that you may come out on top. That the people who have been by your side waiting in line with you since 4am will get the bleep out of your way when the doors open; that the path to aisle 12 will be clear; and that your carts will be filled with all the things the old lady you just slapped did not get to in time. May your family understand your desire to spend your day off in a two hour checkout line rather than with them, and may the cries of the mob fuel your desire to conquer.
Here’s a video compilation to get you in the true spirit of Black Friday.
Have a blessed Black Friday everyone!