Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday musings

I didn't bother to join the Black Friday frenzy today.  I find the very idea abhorrent, never mind the reality!  I did a bit of ordinary household shopping, making sure to go early to an out-of-the-way supermarket that would attract less traffic.  It wasn't busy at all, and I was in and out with my purchases in a matter of a few minutes.

I came home to read headlines of havoc and mayhem at larger shopping centers.  This screenshot of Drudge Report headlines this morning speaks for itself:

I have no desire whatsoever to support Black Friday in any way, shape or form if it produces behavior like that!  Also, as one who's lived in the Third World for many years, I can't help consider such behavior an obscenity in the light of the reality currently lived by so many others, illustrated very graphically by Allan Bevere:

Mr. Bevere makes several good points about Black Friday, including these:

Fifth, and related to my fourth point, we need to stop blaming the retailers for the fiasco that is about to happen. If Black Friday was not such a huge success, retailers would not be marketing it. If opening the doors on Thanksgiving were not a money-maker, no store would even consider it. It's we the shoppers who have made such things possible. We blame the retailers because we know we have the inability to be responsible and just stay home, so if they would only stay closed we would not have to exercise the discipline necessary to just say no to ourselves. Someone else must be to blame for our bad behavior.

Sixth, and finally, Black Friday and the entire Christmas shopping season is one more instance that reminds us of the deep problem in American culture in which we are unable to separate our wants from our needs. The reason for such inability results from the loss of life centered on the divine. When that center is lost we rush to meet our needs with every imaginable want, and we seek to make others happy by giving them what they want.

There's more at the link.  Eminently sane, sensible and worthwhile reading.

I loathe Black Friday.  I'm glad it's almost over.



Murphy's Law said...

Only in America do we fight for bargains and punch, kick, trample and shoot each other the day after being thankful for what we already have.

Very sad. I'm looking at my country and starting to hope that the Mayans got it right re: December 21.

raven said...

It hurts my heart to see those reports of rioting shoppers. What have we become?

Anonymous said...

Judging by what I saw in my corner of the world yesterday afternoon, the Friday after Thanksgiving is for 1) playing in the local park if you have kids and/or dogs, 2) cleaning the garage, 3) grilling/smoking 4) getting ready to go hunting, 5) putting up Christmas lights if the wind is low, 6) reading, or 8) writing Christmas letters. Not for shopping unless you need groceries. N.B. I did not venture onto the roads yesterday. I value what little is left of my sanity, thank you.


perlhaqr said...

I'm trying to figure out how to phrase this without sounding like an arrogant ass, but, if I have failed, I apologize in advance.

I have to say I'm somewhat disappointed with your posting of that "necessity" graphic. It's a pretty leftist trope to A.) imply that economics is a zero sum game and that we have such wealth because others have none, and B.) to imply that our ability to have luxury items and plenty rests under some objective test of "need".

It's not about necessity, it's about liberty. I almost certainly do not "need" all the motorized vehicles I have, but I enjoy having them and working on them, and I'm paying for it all with my own money, so I am absolutely entitled to them under reasonably Lockean definitions of liberty.

And too, you should know far better than most, that if every shopper yesterday had taken every dollar they spent on anything that wasn't a staple item (clothing, food, transportation, housing, capital goods) and donated it to charities intended to distribute the money in the countries in Africa, the only thing that would have come of it is that a couple dozen tyrants and their followers-on would have gotten even more obscenely wealthy, and the situation for the poor would have remained precisely the same.

The very best thing we could do for a place like Zimbabwe would be to shoot Mugabe and his thugs, rename the place Rhodesia, and build them a constitutional republic and an industry, so they could be the ones making a profit selling us all that crap we don't "need" next Black Friday.

(Presuming we haven't "gone Greece" by then, of course.)

*sigh* Sorry. I guess that got a little ranty.

Stuart Garfath said...

G'day from Australia. I gather that this 'black friday' thing is all about buying goods at incredible mark-downs, this one day of the year.
In itself, not a bad thing, but the actions I have seen on the internet are jaw-droppingly terrible!. What possesses people to behave like this!?.
What mentality causes this display af all that is less than good by a great mass of people only focussed on the one goal.
Maybe this day should be re-named 'Mindless Lemming Day'.