Black Friday blues
Nov. 19, 2012
by Ivan Raconteur

It is refreshing to see that people are coming to their senses about Black Friday. It is far too important to be relegated to just one day.

Black Friday, of course, is the day after Thanksgiving, and is the unofficial American holiday during which shoppers make the transition from being thankful for all they have to trampling their neighbors in the aisles of retail establishments in a mad rush to get the things they don’t have.

Black Friday is traditionally recognized as the start of the holiday shopping season. For years, corporate geniuses have realized that there simply aren’t enough hours in a normal workday to accomplish this important function of shaking off the facade of thankfulness and jumping into the full retail frenzy that is such an important part of the Christmas season.

They have, as a result, been shifting the start of the shopping day earlier and earlier in order to maximize the commercial crassness of Black Friday.

This year, some corporate executives have achieved new heights of commercialism by expanding Black Friday beyond the constraints of Friday, and decreeing that they will open the doors for Christmas chaos as early as 8 or 9 p.m. Thursday.

This ingenious strategy is a blessing in more ways than one.

First, it recognizes that people can’t possibly capture all they bargains they need in a 24-hour period, and expands Friday into Thursday to accommodate this vital consumer requirement for more time.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, it limits the burden of Thanksgiving.

Members of the proletariat were heretofore doomed to spend the entire Thanksgiving holiday interacting with their family and friends. Now, their helpful corporate hosts have given them an escape, by moving the start of shopping to Thursday evening.

Clearly, rushing off to work all night at a part-time, minimum-wage job with no benefits is in order to serve bargain-hungry shoppers is much more important than spending time with one’s family on the Thanksgiving holiday. It has been rumored that some of the benevolent retail giants will even pay their employees overtime in order to accomplish this important mission. How noble of them.

One can’t help but wonder what they will do next year, though.

I encountered the Old Philosopher in the corridor recently. He pointed out that Thanksgiving, which is traditionally the fourth Thursday in November, falls on about the earliest possible date this year, November 22. This provides 32 shopping days before Christmas, which is no doubt what the founders were concerned about when they established the Thanksgiving holiday.

Next year, however, the Old Philosopher noted Thanksgiving falls on Nov. 28, about the latest it can be.

That will leave only a measly 26 shopping days in the Christmas shopping season, and it won’t be adequate.

Consumers can’t possibly be expected to complete their Christmas shopping in only 26 days – six fewer than this year.

Black Friday 2013 will likely have to be extended into sometime Thanksgiving eve or earlier, just to give shoppers enough time to snap up all the bargains they will need to make their holiday season bright.

Maybe, to save time, we could abandon the time-consuming ritual of a big family dinner on Thanksgiving altogether, and just grab a quick bite at the food court at the mall instead.

Instead of wasting time being thankful for life’s bounty and spending time with their loved ones, this would give people time to carry out the important work of exercising their credit cards.

Forget about families. If we can just score a hot price on a DVD player or an Xbox game system, that will really give us something to be thankful for next Thanksgiving.

Pies, pilgrims, turkeys, and togetherness are outdated symbols. We won’t find the true meaning of the season around a table with our family and friends. To really get into the holiday spirit, we need to spend Thanksgiving with a horde of wild-eyed strangers, stampeding through a big box bargain emporium frantically searching for bargains.

After all, isn’t that what the holiday season is all about?

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