Black Friday; No Cause For Celebration

25 11 2011

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in America.

Families sitting down together over plates of turkey, mashed potato, stuffing and gravy.

Probably washed down with either a beer with the word ‘lite’ affixed or by a glass of an unheralded Californian chardonnay. Then they watched the American Football.

Together, in silence and giving thanks that this only happens once a year. The Tradition of Thanksgiving, not the Football.

Just like the pilgrims did when they realized that they were quite hungry and hadn’t brought anything to the dinner table. Until the indigenous locals decided that they would give the uninvited newcomers another chance.

And if yesterday was Thanksgiving, then today must be Black Friday.

The day when retailers give thanks that the economic downturn has affected so many people that they will queue around the block to get a 42” television for $300. Or perhaps they count their blessings that the majority of the 99% are happy to keep spending what little money they still have in order to ensure that the festive season starts with a huge credit-card bill and an decreasing desire to answer the doorbell to strangers.

And if today is Black Friday, then the next two days will be What-The-F*** Weekend before the siren song of the Internet ensures that Cyber Monday will provide enough work for the US Postal Service until the January bank statement arrives.

I was involved in Black Friday in a mainly visual sense. I did purchase the final installment of the Harry Potter film series for just under half the RRP and a Hunter S. Thompson book that I am convinced nobody will buy me for Christmas but apart from I merely observed and documented.

I didn’t fight my way through Wal-Mart to try and get a Wii gaming console for $90 and I wasn’t involved in brawls at jewelry counters. I didn’t feel the need to be in Victoria’s Secret at four in the morning in the hopes of spending enough money to qualify for a plastic Tote Bag and I manage to resist the temptation to spend $1,098 on a MacBook that had been discounted by $101.

Mainly because I have a Mac that didn’t shut down in protest when Mr. Jobs shuffled off this virtual coil.

But in other parts of the country, frantic bargain hunters spent the final hours of Thanksgiving queuing outside electronic stores and other temples of consumer greed before rushing in faster than the Greek economy can run up debt.

Once inside, any blessings or quiet reverence that might have been uttered around the dining table as more turkey was produced were forgotten in a manic frenzy of Want-Must Have-It’s Sold Out-Punch Person Buying It.

In California, a woman used pepper-spray to get the first Xbox 360 off a pallet. She didn’t even belong to the police and nobody in the store had even mentioned the word ‘Occupy’.

In Florida, a woman was shot in the foot as she loaded her purchases into her car. The other people in her car foiled the attempted robbery as they fired warning shots in the air and the woman was able to limp into her vehicle in safety.

In Massachusetts, a Wal-Mart failed to open at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving and the crowd muttered their disapproval before deciding to wait until 10:05 when the store would allow shoppers in – although they wouldn’t be allowed to buy anything until 4 a.m.

And on every computer and every smart-phone throughout America, email accounts bulged with offers from every online retailer’s mailing list that every customer has been forced to sign up for when you buy anything from the physical location that seems to still be the only place that you can get the item that has been mysteriously sold out since before it was even released.

Black Friday. A celebration of everything that makes America great.

All part of the American Dream; available to you for one weekend and at a low, low price. We should be thankful that we can still afford it.

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