6 days before Christmas, and I am reading this article about Black Friday. For the uninitiated, that is the day after Thanksgiving, when stores open at 4 am, and shoppers go crazy trying to catch the best prices on teaser items. I personally believe stores unload all the non-sellable stuff on those days, mark everything down, then secretly videotape the thousands of morons that descend onto the store, creating a stampede of bodies. Of course, they show these “Funniest Home Videos” at the Christmas party.
I have never participated in Black Friday. I have always felt that it was sort of the opening salvo in the undeclared war between the corporate community and the average American. They tell you to save, save, save all year long, then, in one shot, they hit you with the spend bomb. Invest your money, stocks, 401k, Roth IRA, buy a home. But, on Dec 1, spend like a dictator! Withdraw from your IRA, it’s not a problem, we can defer the taxes. Use your 401k; you can pay it back over time! Stocks will rebound, you can sell short!
Another phenomenon is the use of the internet. It’s so easy to do now, because you can sell your stock, fund your bank account, and buy that super expensive gift all without leaving your house. It doesn’t get any easier than that. The inclusion of a wireless system (the ultimate gift for the armchair quarterback) means you don’t even have to get out of bed. Ignore the shoppers, the neighbors, the children, and society! Just open your eyes and bang on the keyboard!)
Sitting on the opposite side of the world, I can see from the eyes of the foreigner, just how they get the impression that Americans are so godless, so hedonistic, that we would create names for days after holidays. I mean, they watch the crush of human bodies, the stores jammed with people. They see people brave rain, snow, hurricanes, tornadoes, to get to the malls and shops. They see stores open 24 hours a day, and they think Americans must have no goals other that to shop, get fat, and enforce their version of democracy on the world.
You know what…. I have to tell them “Yes, that’s who we are.”
I miss the holiday spirit. I miss the Black Fridays, the internet shopping, the TV shows, the ridiculous movies, the clay-mation specials. That is who we are. We are Americans, and we work hard all year to splurge, not for ourselves, but for family and friends. That is the simple truth. We may spend on ourselves, but when it comes to family and friends, there is no limit on what we will do, where we will go, and how much in debt we will make ourselves. I do plan on participating in an Black Friday next year, and not only am I going to spend, spend, spend on teaser items, I am going to have a big party at the end of the day to celebrate. I have that kind of freedom. I have paid my dues. I have earned my citizenship. Leave me alone, so I can be bombarded by adds, mailings, fillers, and food…
God Bless America, Land of the free shipping, home of the brave (but wait! There’s More…)
Happy holidays everyone, and hope you have a very merry Christmas season!