Ain’t No Black Friday

In the last few days I’ve stumbled on a Faux-News right-winger sore spot: Black Friday.

I never would have guessed it, but I suppose I should have: these people become enraged when one criticizes Black Friday — almost as enraged as when you say there is no real “war on Christmas.”

I suppose next someone will say Black Friday is in the Bible and we should worship it.  Before that happens, however, I’d like just a moment to point a few things out to these people.

Yes, over the years marketers have noted that the day after Thanksgiving is one of the, if not the heaviest-sales day of the year for any kind of unnecessary junk you can imagine.   This was back in the days when nearly everyone got the day after U.S. Thanksgiving off.  Note that a large part of the previous sentence is in italics.  This is for emphasis.

Yes, Black Friday still is breaking records for sales.  But there are a number of things at work here, and none of them is in the Bible: (1) credit cards, (2) large numbers of people being out of work, which is the only reason they are free on Black Friday, since many businesses (retail among them) now ignore the formerly expected 4-day Thanksgiving holiday, and (3) retailers often give extreme discounts on made-in-China junk on that day, meaning that all that plastic money that doesn’t go into pockets of people like the Kochs goes out of the country.  Which is to say that if one is shopping that day because of a sense of patriotism, that patriotism is misguided or at least mislabeled.  What it really is, is extreme foolishness in the name of today’s conservatism which struggles to keep things as they never were.

Why do I hate Black Friday?  Because I know people whose Thanksgivings are ruined by it.  These are people who work in retail, who are only free to enjoy the holiday until, say, 5:00 p.m. because their employer, determined to make a mint the next day, has ordered them to be at work at midnight Friday.  Why do they do it? you ask.  Because they are afraid of losing their jobs, dummy.  That’s because the economy is so freaking WONDERFUL, you know.

Why do I hate Black Friday?  Because it detracts from Thanksgiving, which was a gift to us from Abraham Lincoln.  It was to be a day of thanking whatever deity you prefer for the harvest.  Just think: we who are so religious have trashed this faintly-religious holiday in favor of a false consumerism holiday leading up to another faux-Christian holiday that was usurped from the Pagans, who were the last ones to observe it seriously.

To put it another way, let’s just call Black Friday the real war on Christmas, because it exposes Christmas as what it really is: fake.  No deity ever asked anyone to go into massive credit card debt in the name of a solstice observance, okay?

Again, why do I hate Black Friday?  Because it creates a false sense of security that the economy is just fine, thank you.  To people who insist that Black Friday means all is well with the world, I have only one thing so say: what kind of economy is it that is only healthy one day a year, or only maintains health because of sales gained on one day a year?

Why do I hate Black Friday?  Because of the Jerry-Springer crowd who camp out in front of, say, Walmart and then trample, claw, scratch, maim, and even shoot each other while trying to grab the latest plastic junk first.  You know, all in the name of peace and love and Jesus.

One friend cited Christmas season hiring in retail as a sign of economic health, saying they “help people put food on the table.”  No.  All a temporary, minimum wage job does is give one enough money to buy gas to go stand in the unemployment line after Christmas.  You cannot feed a family on a Christmas-job wage.

This morning another friend cited attacks on Black Friday as attacks on Christmas.   In a way, she’s right.  But if you are determined to take this seriously and without too much thought, all I can say is this: if her Jesus were alive, he’d die all over again at that reasoning.

Here is all Black Friday is: corporate money-grubbing enabled by easy credit.  Take either of those factors away, my dears, and there ain’t no Black Friday.

And wonder of wonders, your churches are still standing anyway.

P.S. — to find out about and/or support the anti-Black Friday movement, see Buy Nothing Day.

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