To be completely honest, Black Friday is a very bewildering time for me. I don’t know how to properly evaluate this wildly excessive day in a consumer obsessed country. This is especially conflicting for me because of this blog, a space many view as a cheerleader of consumption. Over the past few years I have been more and more skeptical of Black Friday and have been exasperated by what has transpired on both sides of the register. Could you imagine being literally trampled to death in a big box retailer at 4am trying to buy a cheap flat screen t.v.? I’m having a hard time finding a more tragic way to go.
This year the lines have been drawn slightly more clearly and the madness seems to be both escalating and dissipating at the same time with Black Friday’s triumph over Thanksgiving. Some stores are opened earlier than ever on Thursday, and a few retailers shockingly stood up for the family holiday, advocating actually spending time with one’s own family. For better or worse, Black Friday has become a retail arms race. While I understand that the retailers want to try to capture as much of the holiday shopping dollars as possible (it seems it is a zero sum game; they do have stockholders to answer to after all) and many Americans want to stretch their own dollar as far as it can go to give their families a good life; it’s amazing to me that apparently nothing is scared in the quest for retail success, including one of America’s most significant family holidays. Is it really all worth it?