“Don’t Miss This DoorBuster!”
Black Friday has always been a very perplexing “holiday” if one can call it that. It is quite possible the most anti-minimalist day of the year. It is day rife with consumerism and placing value in things over people in one of the most overt manners possible.
Every year in the wee hours of the morning after celebrating with family and friends what we are thankful for, millions of people will line up outside malls and department stores in the cold. This is all in the anticipation of “getting a deal” on some bullshit item they probably don’t need in the first place.
Although more and more people have been opting out of this masochistic tradition, there is still a large number of people willing to participate in the annual consumer-goods themed hunger games. News outlets and media are all too happy to plaster people attacking each other over flat screens and microwaves on television. It displays human nature in its most primal form, fighting for scraps and scavenging whatever is up for grabs.
To some, maybe it is more about the sport of it than the savings. It may be possible that they get some sort of sick adrenaline rush from this violent event. Think I am overreacting? Tell that to the people who were stampeded to death and lost their lives over it. These were very likely innocent people such as security or store staff that had to be there that day to earn a living.
A Little History
The Christmas shopping season normally starts the day after Thanksgiving. This began as far back as 1952, which means average people have been going batshit over this once a year event for 50+ years. It was a way to signal the “actual start” of the holiday season.
The term “Black Friday” was coined in 1962 where it was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. It is also speculated that companies turn a profit on that day alone, whereas profits were written in black ink as opposed to red.
In 2008, customers at a Wal-Mart in Valley Stream, New York broke down the doors before opening. In the process, they ended up killing a store employee. This resulted in OSHA having to put out safety guidelines including barricades for future lines. BARRICADES!
It continued on to become what is known today. The time of year when retailers win, and consumers *think* they win. There have been several cases where a product was found cheaper at the same store prior to Black Friday, only to be more expensive the day of but “marked down” from a higher price.
Even worse is the type of products “on sale” that day. What retailers do is offer lower-quality versions of popular products specifically for Black Friday. These inferior versions are known as derivatives, and they’re typically made with cheaper materials and parts that enable retailers to offer them at such low prices.
Purchasing a derivative means running the risk that a so-called name-brand product will fail you the minute its warranty runs out. Then guess what you’ll be doing? Making a second trip to replace it entirely and blow any money you saved. Sounds like a deal to me!
A Waste Of Your Time
This is nothing more than rank deception by retailers, and complete lack of due-diligence on the customer end. It really does show how easily we are fooled and mislead by these companies in the name of profit and stupidity.
Is the flat screen or the toaster oven you didn’t need in the first place really worth possible injury? Absolutely not. The type of people who go to Black Friday and attack fellow human beings are not usually the most savory or intelligent bunch. Don’t get caught up in the illusion that you are saving money by doing this.
You will spend more than you needed to, negating any “savings” you promised yourself. You will put yourself in harm’s way (as evidenced by past events.) all while the company owners laugh over a glass of champagne and check their profits at your expense.
Furthermore, shoppers rarely consider the hiddens expenses of participating:
- You have to put gas in the car to get there
- Possibility of having to pay for parking
- Snacks, food and beverages while out shopping
- Accessories and add-ons not included with the item
- Interest if you buy everything with a credit card
- Hospital Bills..?
If we could all stop giving this annual nonsense the time of day and put our plans elsewhere, we would be better off. No savings on an electronic device or appliance will compare to a good time with your friends or family. Hell, just sleeping in alone that day is worth more than the “reward” of being the first one to get trampled in a Wal-Mart vestibule.
This is not a post calling for some radical boycott of large companies, shop on if you must. What I want to drive home here is that we need to start placing our energy and values into better shit than this. I know the last thing most people want to do is wake up at 4-5 AM…so why do it for a bunch of fake sales?
If you REALLY feel like you are some savings-bug or a smart consumer, just wait until cyber Monday where your things can be shipped to you at home. No stampede or skull-crushing included.