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Black Friday (1)

I hate the very term "Black Friday," since it's one of those "traditions" of unknown origin doubtless invented by marketing weasels to encroach on Thanksgiving, which has remained resolutely non-monetized, or at least non-commercial, certainly compared to Xmas, Halloween, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Money Day.... I mean, the very idea is that right after Thanksgiving, maybe at 3 in the morning, we're supposed to line up outside the closest big box store, pushing and shoving, and consume. Duty NOW NOW NOW! It's disgusting. Again, again, again:

The crisis we are facing today arises from the fact there there is almost no more social, cultural, natural, and spiritual capital left to convert into money. Centuries, millennia of near-continuous money creation has left us so destitute that we have nothing left to sell.

Jack Forbes (via) calls this wetiko:

Forbes–a longtime Native American activist and professor–roots his critique of civilization in the perspective of the indigenous peoples who were subjected to genocide, ecocide, and terrorism at the behest of European conquerors. To explain this, Forbes introduces readers to the Native American concept of the “Wetiko” psychosis–the disease of cannibalism:

Wetiko is a Cree term which refers to a cannibal or, more specifically, an evil person or spirit who terrorizes other creatures by means of terrible evil acts, including cannibalism.”

Forbes argues that Columbus–the first conqueror–carried this “terribly contagious psychological disease” and introduced it to the Americas. He argues that western civilization is built on imperialism and exploitation, which are essentially forms of cannibalism. Forbes defines cannibalism as “the consuming of another’s life for one’s own private purpose or profit.”

Sound familiar?

NOTE One fifth of all retail sales from Black Friday? Anybody heard the phrase "all your eggs in one basket?"

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Comments

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Here and apparently it had little to do with retail sales being in the black, that's recent spin.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i was out a little before midnight last night and the parking lot of the shopping center i drove by was PACKED. there were police cars at every entrance, with their flashing blue lights, keeping more cars out, and traffic was stalled on two roads, as drivers tried to figure out what to do next.

eta: ha! i posted this comment and then read bdblue's link.

kerril's picture
Submitted by kerril on

From the Macy's sale. $200+ men's jackets for $59. I'm far too lazy to head out to the sales and I do most of my shopping online. But that price is pretty damn good. Heading out at 3 in the morning though? The best I was able to muster was 4:00 for a Wi.

Geoduck's picture
Submitted by Geoduck on

..an usurpation itself, of the traditional fall Harvest Festival?

hobson's picture
Submitted by hobson on

While I have been very "Bah, humbug" about Xmas for a long time, it is a little unfair to small businesses that depend on the Xmas season to become profitable to sneer. The fruit basket company I work for used to make 40% of its sales between Thanksgiving and New Years. That allowed it to keep between 20 and 25 people employed year round. In addition, the company used to hire more than 100 people for December. Maybe not the most productive jobs in the country, but paid work nevertheless. Last Xmas was a disaster resulting in layoffs of half the company and pay reduction of 10% for those that kept their jobs. And nowhere near 100 jobs for the holiday. Yes, a lot of eggs in one basket.

I don't blame people who may not have time to shop during a busy work period for taking advantage of possible low prices and free time. It seems to be what Xmas has been about since I can remember. Haranguing has not changed that. Unfortunate but true. What bothers me is the way the holiday period shopping has become news, not business news but "real" news on the networks. And "retail sales" has replaced gift giving as the term used to refer to the holiday period.

I can tell you, it's hard to suddenly have the rug pulled out from under you whether it was an ugly rug or not.

Submitted by lambert on

Incidentally, I'm "sneering" at the people who've foisted this system on us, and especially the big box stores, and not at the small business who must, willy nilly, play by the rules over which they have no control. See this post for alternatives, which are really up to us to create. And if you don't read on to Jack Forbes, you're missing the point. He does a good deal more than sneer....

Submitted by gob on

The ability to abstain from participation in system-mandated herd behavior like Black Friday is a form of privilege, one for which I am very grateful.

Then there are people who have to be in the mall parking lot at midnight if they want their kids to have new winter coats this year.

Submitted by lambert on

And wouldn't it be nice if people could get their kids winter coats without being herded and prodded like cattle? (To be clear: Sneer directed at the herders and prodders).