C’mon, hasn’t this gotten just a little bit silly?
“Black Friday” was a gimmick started by Madison Avenue in about 2005 or 2006 to artificially create the impression in the American public that the only way they could ever have fulfillment in their lives, save more money than they ever had in their entire lives, and have whiter teeth and better smelling armpits than their neighbors was to get out of bed at 04:00 and get to a store by 05:00 the morning after Thanksgiving.
Stop. Think about that. Forget all of the panic that the merchants would love for you to be feeling if you’re not participating.
Is your entire holiday going to be ruined if you don’t get that big screen television for 35% off at 05:00 on “Black Friday,” instead of getting it for 25% or 30% off at just about any other sale during the year? Is your life going to be worthless if you don’t have all of your Christmas shopping done by 07:00 on the morning after Thanksgiving?
It’s bullshit. They know it. You know it. I know it.
And thousands and thousands of people go do it anyway. Every single morning television show, local and national, had some reporter in the store this morning, interviewing Santa and talking to shoppers who hadn’t woken up yet. Every news show tonight had some juicy footage from East Springfield [Insert State Here] showing housewives trampling each other to save $2 on that sweater or $5 on that coffee maker.
The next year, if Store A opened at 05:00, Store B had to open at 04:00. The next year it was 02:00. Then it was midnight. Then it was 22:00 on Thanksgiving night, then 18:00 on Thanksgiving.
Then stores started staying open on Thanksgiving. Then they started opening at 05:00 on Thanksgiving. Then 03:00. Then midnight.
But they still called it “Black Friday.” And they still do, despite the fact that there were countless stores that had “Black Friday Week” sales which started on Monday. Except, of course, for the ones that actually started last Monday and run for two weeks. Or the ones that started November 1st, the freakin’ day after Halloween, and run all month.
But they’re still called “Black Friday” sales.
How in hell did “Black Friday” end up in Australia and Europe? They don’t even HAVE a Thanksgiving holiday!
What if they had “Black Friday” and no one came? What if middle managers all across retail America forced their employees to show up at truly ungodly hours on Thanksgiving only to find that there were no crowds in the parking lot at 01:00 trying to get in, no rush to get items you didn’t want and didn’t need but to get them at 50% off?
As a society we reacted like trained monkeys. When Corporate America said, “Jump,” we asked how high on the way up. Does that conditioning go both ways? If “Black Friday” was statistically normal compared to the other 364 days of the year, would it collapse the economy, cause the stock markets to crash, and lead to the next Great Depression?
More importantly, if we all decided to not play the game, would the retail chains have “Black Friday” the following year, hoping that the “normal” sales year was a freak?
Would they get it by the third year?
Not to worry, we’ll never have to find out or test our theories. Box sets of Adam Sandler’s entire movie collection on Blu-ray are available for $37.99, but only between 03:00 and 03:15, so let the stampede begin!