Black Friday. Even the name sounds like a horror movie.
November 27, 2012
Over Thanksgiving, I took some heat for slamming Black Friday on my Facebook and Twitter. These were my exact words: Black Friday is for cretins. Like Stupid Saturday and Moronic Monday. I’m in marketing and I’m sick of the whole stinking concept. Enough already!
One irritated responder put forward the notion of desperate mothers clamoring to make the holidays merrier for her brood: If shopping at these sales allows (moms) to put two presents under a tree for each kid instead of one, good for them.
In retrospect, I reckon calling hordes of Black Friday shoppers “cretins” was harsh if not misguided. Lots of us participated in bouts of consumerism over Thanksgiving. Including yours truly. Yet my panning door busters and all night sales was not, as others suggested, an elitist attack on people living on the margins.
Frankly, I think hyped-up sales like Black Friday prompt people to spend money they don’t have. The promise (illusion) of savings is overrun by the addiction of consuming. Surrounded by hordes of feverish consumers battling over shiny boxes and colorful garments folks become gamblers; and like in a casino, few players quit when they’re ahead. They are poorer for it.
But I won’t lie to you. My disdain has an element of condescension. I happen to think fighting crowds through Walmart at 2AM is vulgar, the textbook definition as a matter of fact. Consumerism on steroids, it’s not pretty. The line between chasing value and greed is crossed and then trampled. Come to think of it, it is like a zombie movie.
I actually believe most retailers would prefer making their numbers without these insane fire sales. But it only takes one. Like dominoes the others follow suit. The genie cannot be put back in the bottle. The hordes cannot be kept out.