The term Black Friday denotes the annual stampede experienced by retail stores across the United States on the day after Thanksgiving. In breaking with the holiday season’s sentiment of peace on earth and good will toward men, Black Friday turns usually clear headed people into a horde of Huns on their way to pillaging an unsuspecting village. In turn they will push, shove, elbow, threaten and trample just about anyone who gets in their way in order to save a few bucks on something they probably don’t need in the first place. If you don't believe me, just tune in to the news either Friday night or Saturday morning and you'll see what I mean.
When it comes to shopping the term “Black Friday” appears to have originated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (also known as the City of Brotherly Love) back in the early to mid 1960’s. Unlike today though, the term was more derogatory in nature. It was coined by the Philly police department to describe the various traffic jams and other woes they experienced on what would later become this holiest of holy days.
Since then “Black Friday” seems to arrive earlier each and every year. In the beginning many store owners and large chains wouldn’t open their doors until 8:00 AM on Friday itself. Through a clever ad campaign based on sales and deals on certain merchandise and in an effort to undermine their competitors that time has been moved up steadily over the years. Last year the evil empire known as Wal-mart opened its doors to shoppers at 10:00 PM on the eve of Thanksgiving and if what I read in the news rings true they’ll be bumping that up to 8:00 PM this year. Of course, this will lead many competitors such as Sears, Target, Kohl’s, Toys "R" Us and whatever's left of Kmart to follow suit as they don’t want to lose consumers in search of their quest of the ever elusive American Dream.
I should note that many employees of these institutions have refused to work but given the recent state of the economy and with so many people out of work they’re probably at risk of losing their jobs.
In closing, I see the ads on television. They’re filled with smiley faced consumers and employees alike rubbing their hands with glee in anticipation of Black Friday and it strikes somehow as incongruent.
In a season that is supposed to be all about family and friends getting together in order to give thanks to what blessings we have, many of us are now headed out the door before Grandma can clear the table in order to be the first in line at someplace that normally you’d dread going to in the first place.
Here’s some friendly advice, warm up some leftovers and have that other piece of pie. After that, go for a walk around the neighborhood and say hello to some of your neighbors. When you get back home, flip in a movie or play some board games and rehash some fond memories for those who have left this world in search of greener pastures.
All that other shit can wait and besides, that’s what your family and friends really want.
And so do you.