… not explicitly educational, but subtlely educational.
I watched some footage online of the mayhem that is Black Friday. It does bear an uncanny resemblance to some early zombie movies. It’s really easy to make fun of the rampant consumerism, the extremely bad behavior — pushing, trampling, instances of more serious violence — not to mention the people who spend all Thanksgiving in line to buy a cheaper gift for a family member they weren’t able to see on Thanksgiving. Here are some things I noticed.
* All the mania happens in big-box stores like Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, Target. No one’s getting trampled at Saks Fifth Avenue.
* When Apple launches a new product, it’s not uncommon for folks to wait in line for it. But it rarely rises to the level of collective insanity that infects Black Friday.
* How poor do you need to be to fight tooth and nail over a discounted Oster iron? How poor do you need to be to sacrifice your time and dignity for 20% off a household appliance? Scraping pennies poor. Like I implied above, this is not the tea cozy crowd mixing it up.
* To what extent has all the hype around Black Friday encouraged this type of behavior? Has pitching your tent in line at 4am become a kind of cultural event? Is it now expected that someone will be trampled in the course of the day? Someone will whip out a pistol over a parking space?
* I actually assume that the majority of these shoppers are trying to purchase gifts for the holidays, while others are buying that flat-screen TV for themselves, or to resell at a higher price later on. The first group is trying to participate in the spirit of the season; perhaps we can look at their participation as a selfless act?
* I wonder if these Black Friday shoppers understand that the retailers have gamed the system so that they benefit more than you do. They love having inventory fly off the shelves early in the shopping season. Better deals are actually typically had the last Saturday before Christmas.
In short, I see these videos and I see people who have lost in every conceivable way. They don’t make enough money and/or have been hookwinked into participating in these shenanigans, and then we civilized folks with the heat on and health insurance deride them.
Count me out.