Black Friday Madness: Opting Out of the Mania

by on September 13th, 2010
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Black Friday. I’m not certain how it has gotten to the epic proportion that it has become. But it is an unruly beast that must be put back in his cave.

This day, which has become an event, an American holiday all in and of itself, is now becoming a week. And it doesn’t even begin on Friday; it starts as you are chewing the last bit of stuffing, before you have even removed the dishes from the holiday table. No time for pie, gotta get your butt in line for the grand opening at… 10 p.m.

Am I the only person on the planet who sees the lunacy in this event? Why on earth are we abandoning our beds in the middle of the night to go spend money?

The press eagerly awaits the glimpse of what the retailers will be baiting us with, and feeds us tidbits, little morsels to whet our buying appetite. And these ads are getting ridiculous. Case in point: the slightly psycho Target woman. My sincere hope is she is heading straight for the pharmacy at her local Target, to get back on her meds. I believe they missed the boat on this one. She does not make me want to shop. She makes me want to support research into mental illness.

Years ago, the day after Thanksgiving did not have its own name. It was simply the extra day off you got to enjoy after a day of stuffing yourself beyond belief. The stores would open early, but that meant about 7a.m. I imagine that this is really the result of a bet between some super-duper mega CEOs to see what they can make the public do. The conversation went something like this:

Executive Fred: I know, let’s open at five a.m., but we will have to offer something worthwhile.

Executive Bob: Electronics. That will bring them in. Everyone wants cheap electronics.

Executive Fred: Yeah, but we can’t give away the electronics, we make way too much profit on them.

Executive Bob: Not all of them, you schmuck. We advertise the price, and then in little-teeny print we state it is limited supply, and no rain checks. You only have to have a couple, then the people that don’t get one, well they won’t want to leave empty handed, so they spend more on another model.

Executive Fred: Brilliant. But we can do better. Let’s open earlier. Let’s say, 4 a.m.

Executive Bob: They’ll never go for it that earlier.

Executive Fred: Of course they will. They are like lemmings. They follow, and they will do whatever we tell them to do. Bet you a buck.

Executive Bob: Deal!

And they did. And the crowds proved them right. They took the power. They dangled the carrot and like a bunch of sheep, we waddled out in the dead of night, in the cold to stand in lines to get crushed in the melee in the noble quest to get that laptop/tablet/flat panel/iWhatsit. And did we ever get that particular item? I did once. It was a television for my oldest son when I was pregnant with my youngest son. And the clerk in the television department would not assist me in getting the large item to the register. I couldn’t leave it, since it was the last one. So, against my better judgment (who am I kidding, I was there at an obscene hour of the morning, so my judgment was nowhere to be found that day) I lifted and carried the box. Fortunately, both my sons are fine today, but I learned something about humanity that day. And I have never been to a Black Friday since.

The fact is people have died at these events. And they get bigger and more outrageous every year. It’s madness. But we can take back the power. If nobody showed up at these events until the normal shopping hours, then the retailers would quit with the ridiculous gimmicks. We would get the same deals, only during regular, reasonable hours. And we would not be forced to stand in these long lines, in the cold, to NOT get what we came for. Not to mention the extra sleep we could have.

So take the pledge people. Stand up to these manipulators those who you have been faithful to and supported with your hard earned dollars. Who are they to dictate when we can get the best deals? After all, without us, there would be no them.

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