Skip to comments.I hate Black Friday
Posted on 11/25/2011 1:27:16 PM PST by NYer
I confess, I despise Black Friday. I hate the way consumers are urged to haul their Thanksgiving-exhausted selves out to stores away from family members who have often traveled some distance to come together so they can surrender their human dignity or assault the dignity of others in order to snag a ten-dollar sweater and a waffle-maker for $9.99.
And I hate the way consumers go along with it.
I hate the way the mad buying and bad behavior is attached to Christmas the coming of the Christ was meant to set us free, and yet the over-commercialization of the Holidays feeds our greed and tethers us to our possessions in a way that can only weigh us down, more firmly, to earthly concerns.
We are not released, only further encumbered.
And am I the only one who, each year, finds the Christmas commercials less ingratiating and more off-putting? The season has only just begun, but already I cant stand the commercial where a son travels through snow to see his parents, only to find an empty house, because his Boomer parents not interested in welcoming him have sneaked out the back and taken his car for a spin? Click! The channel changes every time that commercial comes on.
Shes not writing specifically about Christmas, but in her column this week on Patheos, Elizabeth Duffy examines the emptiness of a life too full of things:
Its time to admit that just as my kids dont play with the wooden toys Id prefer them to play with, I dont wear half my clothes; Ill never read half my books; and I dont bake specialty cakes. And yet, over the years I have accumulated an outrageous number of artifacts for a multi-faceted fantasy life that no one in this house actually lives.
Accumulating all of that stuff it actually creates distance between our real selves and what we think were supposed to be, as dictated to us through advertisers and trends. Buy these $400 shoes and you will be happy; imagine yourself walking down a runway in this dress (that no one can actually wear unless theyre built like an adolescent boy) and it will mean something to you. Really, it will.
But it never does. Because things are just things. They dont add to your wisdom; they dont make you a better or kinder or happier person. If you give them your love, they wont love you back.
As Elizabeth writes:
Because I can afford them, Ill buy five pairs of jeans in search of the one perfect pair. I may only spend twenty bucks, and have five pairs of name-brand jeans, but who needs them? Who can store them? Who has the lifestyle to support five pairs of name-brand jeans? Not me. And to be real, I probably have three times that, because I have my normal jeans, my pregnant jeans, and my fat jeans wardrobe. Also a skinny jeans wardrobe, just in case.
So there, I have clothed myself, and all my potential selves, on a dime. Yay me.
I used to make my peace with Black Friday and the excesses of the season because I considered that even the bad behavior was rooted, ultimately, in love; that people were acting like loons over things because they were motivated by their love for their families. But thats not convincing me, any longer.
Each year, I find myself less willing to take part in any of this, less persuaded that I must go out and buy things for people who already have more than enough of everything, because somehow this is supposed to demonstrate my love. Things mean love.
Well, Im not doing it. The littlest kids are getting gifts (small ones; hello chess sets!) and everyone else is getting homemade cookies or Monastic soaps, cremes and candies high-quality things that are quickly used and gone, and whose purchase helps sustain houses of prayer or books that can actually change peoples lives by helping them to find a measure of true comfort and joy, those two genuine gifts of Christmas. The parish outreach will get the bulk of our Christmas fund.
Advent begins this weekend, and it should be a time of quietening-down, of expectation born of introspection and prayer, and yet those straining to hear the voices of prophecy and heralding angels hear only buy, buy, buy!.
Somewhere between the excesses of the Occupy Wall Street crowd and the excesses of the Black Friday Shoppers, there is balance and reason. But increasingly, our culture can only swing between the two extremes.
The ride is making me sick. I want off.
You’d have to be a psycho to put up with that cheet.
Black Friday is capitalism.
It is simple. Do not participate.
If more people decided to have a nice, quiet non-commercial Christmas then all of that crap would go away.
Is Andy Rooney back?
I avoid the stores on Black Friday.
I usually shop online, especially on Cyber Monday.
I did find a couple of good online deals today, however.
I confess, I despise Black Friday.
I did all of my "Black Friday" shopping on Tuesday ... online.
No hassles. No troubles. No crowds.
I don’t see the problem. If you don’t approve of Black Friday and think it’s all just commercial hype, ignore it. Do what you want to do on the day after Thanksgiving. No one’s forcing anyone to go shopping. We’ve got bigger problems than crowded malls.
I agree Christmas has become to commercial, but it is kind of hard to complain when the church stole December 25th. Let’s have Christmas around October 1st if we really want to have a true religious holiday.
WHAT? You don’t got the stuff? Everybody did! I got more stuff than y’all! After lunch I be gettin’ more. Stuff!
I agree. I don’t think that I’ll go so far as to give Monastic soap to my family, but one year I bought each of them a piglet to be given to families in Uganda. The pigs are raised for meat and for breeding more pigs — thus to provide a sustainable living for the recipients.
I hate the way that the purveyors of “Black Friday” have stolen the meaning of Thanksgiving from the american people, and I refuse to participate any more.
No worries...won’t be named “Black Friday” too much longer.
Not PC, you know.
Probably be changed to “1 Percenter Day”.
My wife manages a retail store in Rockford, IL. I had to call her around 1:45 pm our time and she said it had been solid lines of people since 6:00 AM. She’s budgeted to do $26K, but if it kept up as it has, she’ll do around $50K. You don’t have to ask who’ll have dinner ready for her when she gets home (along with a glass of red wine...
BTW, went to breakfast with her sister & her husband who stayed overnight and were leaving for Chicago. Stopped at Wal-Mart afterward to pick up a couple ink cartridges. They weren’t that busy at all (around 11 am). Asked the register clerk how it had been and she said it wasn’t all that busy. But this is a small town (Rochelle, IL). I imagine people were more inclined to head to Rockford or in toward Elgin or Naperville.
I don’t go along. I refuse to play the game. I don’t go anywhere on Black Friday.
I agree 100% with this article.
Look, I’m all for the economy but not at the price of acting like greedy pigs. The last several years, people have been assaulted physically - one was even killed at a NY Wal-Mart. Ridiculous.
I refuse to participate. I’d rather stay home, pray, and focus on the real meaning of Christmas.
I am one of those who pretty much ignore Black Friday but have no problem with it either.
The only time I have purposely gone to a store for one of those bargains was around 10 years ago when Wal-Mart had a camera I wanted for a very good price. When I got there they were sold out but surprisingly they gave me a rain check. After a couple of weeks I asked them if I could have a similar, actually a little better one for the rain check and the girl went ahead and approved it.
I would never fight the crowds for the real early specials tho.
this ‘ could ‘ be racist
I am absolutely stunned that anyone takes part in this. It is like something from a movie - people going nuts over a bunch of “stuff” that will most likely end up at the back of a closet in short order. Going out shopping on Boxing Day also boggles the mind. Collectively speaking, we’re nuts.
The only thing that bugs me is that they take a lot of useful stuff off the shelves at this time of year to make room for stupid stuff like red and green mittens.
We are having a bit of indian summer here today, I have roses blooming and if I were to go to walmart today to get some trimmer line for the weed whacker, there would be none to be found.
I refuse to participate in any coerced shopping events. I’ll do what I usually do, wait until three days before Christmas and then panic.
I hate black ice.
I made the mistake of visiting Canada on Boxing Day a couple of years ago. I’d forgotten, because we don’t celebrate it here. What a madhouse! It took three hours at the border crossing to get back to the states.
Yup, same here. Can't say I have ever gone shopping on a Black Friday. Nothing would get me to one of these Thanksgiving night at midnight events.
. . . capitalism - the word and the concept - was the brainchild of Karl Marx. As well as offering an “-ism” opposite his own -ism, it describes a rigid class society in which one class possesses the means of production, the other nothing except its labor. The latter class is called “The Proletariat” who, as Lenin declared, can lose nothing but its chains when it rises against the oppressor.
This is not the place to argue whether capitalism was the appropriate way to describe certain European societies. The point is that owning things has always been open to Americans. The moment you buy one share of stock, you part-own “means of production,” not to mention owning your home and arriving at your place of work in your own automobile - a very American image.
America never had a proletariat.
In that case, America could not have been a capitalist country.
To the best of my knowledge, no one has redefined capitalism after Marx, and it is inappropriate to use a word whose meaning is different from what the speaker has in mind.
Perhaps what we have in America is best described as a free-enterprise system.
- Balint Vazsonyi -
I don’t do it, but I think it’s great.
As far as being exhausted and leaving family, the author has obviously never been in a family like mine. Nothing gets a bunch of women excited like running out and getting a great sale.
People I know get up and get out, and have a great time together. They plan for it together, arrange things together, pile in the car and coordinate the running. They come home with piles of stuff, excited and talking and ready for lunch.
There is something inherently conservative and capitalist about getting out and getting great deals, and saving money!
I think it was last year, maybe two years ago, when I went on a Black Friday late morning to the neighbourhood Home Depot (yes, these places are more neighbourhood than 7 Elevens these days) to get some chingaletta, saw the line to the register of 40+ toy hunters, and though the chingaletta was still on the shelf, I said “frack it!”, and left.
Capitalism, yes. Bravo! But I´d rather stay home in my pajamas all day.
“I did find a couple of good online deals today...”
You are such a TEASE! We won’t be scrooges and tell anyone... so what are the good deals you found?
It’s not for me. My wife has gone to bump elbows with the masses. I think it’s nuts.
I can do that. But I have a problem. My bottle of rum is larger than my carton of eggnog. :-P
People trampling each other to death for made-in-China toasters and conservatives have no problem with it because it’s “capitalism”...
There are no toasters made in the USA anymore
The only problem with Capitalism is it tends to create too few capitalists.
Oh but that cheap cheap toaster will sure as hell have a lot of hidden costs further up the road.
That ride is ... America?
We can comment on it, can boycott it, but we can’t stop it.
Aquisition is what drives the country’s economy.
Capitalism is fine, but this has become a media-exploited freak show.
I read the European press, and all over the world they are reporting the incident with the woman who pepper-sprayed her competitors and telling their readers how many Americans were trampled during the Black Friday event.
The best thing a store could do for its future is to announce that it won’t do this. These loss leaders probably don’t make them that much money anyway, and if they just open at 9:00 am on Friday with a few specials and scattered reductions, they’ll probably make more.
We look like the Muslims going around gashing ourselves on the head on whatever their idiotic moloch holiday is where they do that.
I had to go to Walmart this morning for basic groceries. The only difference between this and any other weekday morning was more school-age children with their parents, since public schools were off. Everyone was as polite and cheerful as always ... I live in a nice place!
Petsmart had dog beds half-off, but that was still do much when the dog doesn’t *really* need a new one.
I will always remember that scene in “They Live” when he puts on the glasses and sees the money is actually printed with “This is your God!” but you couldn’t see it without the glasses... except subliminally.
LOL! I went to Home Depot early this morning for a couple of little things I needed for a project, and then I suddenly realized that the parking lot was full because there were still left-over folks from their Black Friday night event.
Very strange. I got my things and left but people were still circling, looking for toys and stuff I didn’t even know Home Depot carried.
I agree with her. I very much dislike the traffic and crowds.....all scrambling to find happiness in a bargain.
Much better (and happier) to stay home, watch football, play games and eat leftovers and pie.
Only shows the true nature of the day.
I doubt Black Friday will last many more years. You can shop online and partake of the specials and be done in an hour. There’s no need to go out into a mob scene and be jostled. The young people coming up will laugh at video of people wrestling over stuff; they are quite comfortable shopping online.
That being said, I think I’m asking family to give one very small simple gift this year and cut out all the stress. We’ve had a tough year.
I used to think it was great, although I never did it myself because I was always the one at home making the lunch! But it has become, in my mind, a media event and I don’t like the whole reality-TV stampede aspect of it.
I don’t think that it has anything to do with capitalism and it’s ugly seeing people clawing at each other to get in and save a few dollars on something they probably wouldn’t have bought anyway otherwise.
I particularly didn’t like it this year, because starting it so early meant that people left your Thanksgiving dinner or “after party” (drinks and snacks for people who had gone to dinners elsewhere) by about 8:00 pm so they could get to the parking lot at Wal-Mart in time to buy a Barbie at 10:00 pm.
I heard from somebody else today who said her entire dinner was uncomfortable because one family member was really obssessed with getting to some store (she never said which one) that was opening early so she could save $20 on some appliance...
I think it’s gone from being fun to being insane. And it’s going to destroy Thanksgiving.
We have a good size dog bed (actually from my GSP that died last year) under the desk that my now Boston Terrier (or ‘Terror’) loves. But we thought about getting him another small one, like we had when we got him as a pup, for out in the LR when we’re watching TV. I’ll have to tell my wife about Petsmart since they’re right by her store. Thanks!
There are people who actually camp out on Wednesday so they don’t miss Black Friday.
They miss Thanksgiving. Do they really think that the things they buy fill up that hole in their soul?
Because isn’t that what it is really about? I must have that thing because I don’t have Christ. And so I have nothing really to be thankful for.
I love black FRiday . I go from the fridge to the Lazy Boy and football , then back to the fridge and so on ...