Posts Tagged Black Friday
Today was Black Friday, and you know what I didn’t do? Go shopping.
I guess I’m a terrible person for not buying the people I love flatscreen televisions.
The beginning of the Christmas shopping season has become such an event that it’s overshadowing an actual holiday, Thanksgiving. While I’m sure there are many great bargains to be had, aren’t we going a little too far in pursuit of cheap goods?
The great threat to American values isn’t abortions, gay marriage, or people’s pesky desire not to get shot when they go to the mall. It’s that we’re expected to spend so much time in said mall.
You don’t have to be a curmudgeon to recognize that spending time with family and giving thanks for what one has are two things that are worth taking one day off a year for.
Yet those things seem to take a back seat to an unearthly cycle of production and consumption.
You often hear people saying that the holidays are an important time to consider the less-fortunate.
That’s an incredibly ironic statement considering that, while the Macy’s bigwigs were enjoying the Thanksgiving Day Parade yesterday, entry-level workers had to open the stores.
Of course, it’s sometimes hard to put oneself in the position of someone who is forced to choose between surviving, and celebrating a holiday that–as an American–they are supposedly entitled to enjoy.
So maybe those people should consider how much time they spend buying gifts, and compare it to how much time they actual spend celebrating the holidays.
Over a month of purchasing goes into what, for most people, is a single day of observance.
Gift giving is an integral part of the holiday season, but if it requires so much time and effort that people choose (or are forced) to cut their holidays short, what’s the point?
Consumerism can only take people so far. A holiday that is only distinguished from an ordinary day by a larger credit-card bill isn’t much of a holiday.
It seems like it would be better to begin the holiday season in good spirits, and to know when to end it. That’s why I’m proposing a sort of amnesty period once all the gift giving is done.
Today, I exploited the narrow window before a bad snowstorm to run a few errands, like any other Wednesday. However, since this was the day after Christmas, it was oddly sickening. After a month of crowded stores and endless commercials it just seemed like too much, and I don’t even celebrate Christmas.
I’m sure the people who work in retail that had to get up this morning and wait on customers returning the gifts their relatives had frantically bought weeks (or days) earlier feel the same way.
We live in a commercial society, there’s no denying that, so piling an extra helping of buying on top of our normal consumerist activities is like chasing a keg stand with a martini.
There’s nothing wrong with needing stuff, or wanting to give it to show affection, but after such a long slog maybe it would be nice to take a break. That’s why I’m proposing that Christmas and December 26 be a shopping holiday, where the stores are closed and we can focus on using our possessions instead of buying more.
This idea definitely belongs in the “it’s a nice thought, but it’ll never happen” category, but it’s nice to dream. Wouldn’t it be relaxing to have two consumption-free days, a counterpart to Thanksgiving and Black Friday? Balance is important.
Last week, illegal camping was the crime of the century. Remember that? That was when mayors and university chancellors were talking about how threatening the actions of Occupy protestors were, in order to justify beating and pepper-spraying them.
This past weekend was a different story. Thousands camped out in front of Best Buys and Wal Marts, spending part of their Thanksgiving holiday swarming stores for bargains. Occupy Wall Street protestors living in tents in Zucotti Park were described as an uncontrollable mob but, apparently, when a large unruly group of people descend on a store, it’s just part of the holiday season.
The irony is too great to describe, so I’ll just let it sink in. The message is clear: if you want to protest the exploitation of average Americans by corporations, pick up an XBox on your way out. The police won’t mind you’re illegal camping one bit, although you might still get pepper-sprayed.