I haven’t been stabby for a few weeks, but here we go! As I said last week, I am not a fan of Black Friday. I also found it interesting to discover this morning that Black Friday wasn’t that big a deal as little as 10 years ago. Now thanks to greed, corporate and otherwise, it has become a sad symbol of our culture. It’s time for the madness to end – if last Friday’s events didn’t stir your stabbiness enough to call a halt, I hope this post will!
Black Friday Violence
It seems that each year, the Wal-Mart melee gets worse. In the past, people have been trampled. This year a man died. How many lives have to be lost before we realize that the holiday season isn’t about getting great deals? Is his life worth saving $500 on a TV?
Each year this continues, the situation will only get worse. I won’t blame the Toys ‘R Us shooting for Black Friday – it seems there was a history there – but it’s just another emblem of what’s become of our society. What does it say when people bring guns to toy stores?
Black Friday Greed
The cause of the melee was simple greed – people wanted cheap crap they didn’t need. In fact, when the police closed the stores, shoppers were angry because they’d been waiting in line so long. Yes, that’s right, they’re inconvenience was more important than a man’s life. When did the Christmas spirit include callousness toward fellow human beings?
Not only that, but apparently most of the people shopping were buying for themselves, not for other people. I did wonder why they had refrigerators and TVs on sale. Those clearly weren’t gifts intended for other people. Why are stores hosting supersales on items that could easily be deeply discounted later in the year? Is the person shopping for a $1500 fridge going to pick up a few stocking stuffers on the way? Maybe that’s the retailers’ hope, but it doesn’t seem to be the case.
Why Is This Fun?
Part of the recent build-up of Black Friday has stemmed from the media’s description of the day as “fun.” How is shopping with a horde of other people, scratching, fighting, and screaming “fun?” Where is the joy in this? It’s not. The word they’re looking for is “lust.” The lust for stuff. It’s another part of the consumer culture that has driven our economy to the brink – we’ve replaced happiness with the high of shopping and the rush of competition.
What Should We Do?
I’m not usually one to suggest that government interfere with retail practices, but maybe Black Friday sales should be banned. Or at least, these doorbusters that start at 5 AM. Or how about we stop allowing people to gather outside the stores 12 hours before they open? If people show up more than a half an hour before opening, the police will send them home. Maybe that would have reduced the frenzy at Wal-Mart.
Or, and this may sound crazy, maybe we should expect retailers to recognize their responsibility in this situation and do something. Maybe they should voluntarily stop the madness. Really, how much profit can they be making when people are pulled in for $4 track suits and then leave without buying anything at regular price, or even a regular sale price? When people travel from store to store buying the lowest-priced items, is the money earned even worth the trouble?
Sadly, I’m sure this year’s Black Friday death will be forgotten by next year and the stores will be offering the same insane bargains, and the same horrible events will occur. Only when the consumers wake up and stop succumbing to the greed and lust will this stop. Are you ready to overcome the greed? Let me hear you say “Yeah.”