The holidays are upon us again. You know what that means. Holiday shopping. The time for all good folks to go into debt in a desperate attempt to show others that they care. For me, it’s time for 2-day free shipping and packages galore. Hey, I’m not going out there! Physically going holiday shopping any time after Thanksgiving is insane. Speaking of which, what happens to people after Thanksgiving?
Back in the day, the craziness didn’t start until Black Friday – at an ordinary time. Now, in recent years, many retailers are opening before daybreak on Black Friday, and more and more stores are opening early Thanksgiving evening and staying open through Black Friday at midnight. Like I said, insane. I mean, here people are, spending Thanksgiving Day with their families, expressing gratitude (one hopes) for what they have and then suddenly at 8:00 p.m., they’re overcome with the need to fight a 95 year old woman for the last Minion toy in the clearance bin at their local big-brand department store.
It’s not a lonely occupation either… these early holiday shoppers seek each other out. They run in packs. You’ll overhear them commiserating: “What time are you headed out tonight?” And they start mapping out their line of attack at the Walmart like they’re planning a special-ops raid. “We’ll hit up the electronics section first – they’re always the first deals to go, then we’ll head over to cash in on the home décor specials before heading to the clothing section to take advantage of this 50% off no holds barred coupon I’ve got burning a hole in my pocket. Remember, stay hydrated and if we get separated, meet me over in customer service!”
Personally, I can’t figure out why anyone would voluntarily go out at raccoon hours into stores infested with people just to save a few bucks. For me, the stress alone would negate any financial gains I might possibly experience. And really, I question whether they’re even saving a few bucks. Oh sure, that 500-inch t.v. might only cost $100 for the day, and I admit, that’s a great deal and all, but seeing as they only have the one in stock (and oh yeah, the power cord costs $3,500)… but hey, since you’re in the store anyway, how about you buy this 5-inch t.v. for $1,999.99 so you can go home and pat yourself on the back for being such a smart consumer.
Luckily, I haven’t seen or heard of any instances of mobs running over innocent retail workers or fellow shoppers yet this year. Don’t scoff. It happens. Has happened. No doubt will again happen. And while you might think you’d be hard-pressed to come up with something worse than being trampled to death in a holiday shoppers’ feeding frenzy, trust me, “worse” is out there. It’s as if common decency and consideration – not to mention simple kindness, cease to exist. Sadly, it’s rage and selfishness that seem to win the day.
Society is fucked up in so many ways (**gestures vaguely at everything**) but it can really be viewed in all of its glory on Black Friday at a congested mall, overflowing with desperate, tired people, running on espresso and aggression, just waiting to blow up at anyone who dares to cut them off in the checkout line as fights over Minion toys are occurring two aisles over and gunshots can be heard in the parking lot… the tragic final word on who should get that last parking spot.
Holiday spirit indeed.
Horrendously Australian marketing gurus have picked up on your Black Friday phenomenon in recent years, as well as wretched Halloween. Both events continue to grow in popularity. My comment to fellow Aussies is “suckers”. And why does it seem that this year Black Friday lasts for a week ?????
“Raccoon hours…” I’m going to steal that one!
My favorite marketing technique (i.e., BS scam) these days, not limited to Black Friday, is one particular large “upscale” department store (named after a month of the year that falls between April and June) which started two-day long “One Day Sales!” Now they have two-day long “One Day Sales” with a “preview day.” It might just be me, but doesn’t that make it a “Three Day Sale”?
So much for truth in advertising.
You said it for do many of us! I do my best to avoid all stores from the week before Thanksgiving until after New Years. Thankfully I can get fresh produce in a small local grocery and whatever else I failed to stock up on by ordering online. No guilt about carbon footprint for those deliveries, as I would put far more junk into the atmosphere driving myself to town and then venting my rage at all the ugliness you describe do well.
I don’t think about it. Too silly. I just stay home and read.