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Stinger Is Coming On Friday: Be Afraid – Be Prepared

Back in the day when I had a lot of heavy reading to do, I would often take a break and tear my way through a dime-store novel that didn’t make much demand on my brain. One of those ‘take-a-break’ books was called Stinger.

The novel was a middle-of-the-road science fiction story about a dolphin-like creature from space that lands on earth. He/she/it was being pursued across the galaxy by a giant, technologically advanced scorpion-like thing called Stinger who had a bad attitude and a desire to kill dolphins. The book was basically about waiting for Stinger’s arrival.

This week I’ve had the same feeling as the characters in the book when they were told “Stinger is coming” only it isn’t Stinger, it’s that homage to consumerism – Black Friday that’s looming on the horizon.

Forget Wall Street, if there was ever a celebration of greed, Black Friday surely has to be it and best of all, you don’t need a financial broker’s license – everybody gets to play.

People will line up over night to be first into Walmart, Target and every other major store and mall in the country. They will jostle and push and shove each other trying to be first to the sale tables. They will grab whatever they originally came for along with a few additional impulse purchases and head for the check out credit cards in hand. Some won’t even know what they purchased until after it’s been paid for and they’re in their cars.

The card readers at the cash will be working so hard, they’ll have smoke coming out of them as will more than a few of the cashiers.

If it is anything like last year, at least one or two people will get tasered or pepper sprayed by another customer, a few will get robbed, beat up and maybe even shot. Tempers will be short but credit will be long and more people will show up than turned out to vote.

Retailers and manufacturers, recognizing an orgy of opportunity when they see one, have expanded Black Friday to include online Monday and Walmart is trying to jump its competition by opening late on Thanksgiving Day. Now there’s a pretty sight, people stuffed with turkey burping and waddling their way into Walmart, their eyes half closed and cranberry sauce spilled down the front of their shirts and blouses.

For their part, Walmart employees have taken their employer to court in an attempt to get an injunction forcing Walmart to stay closed on Thanksgiving. Spoilsports!

Canadian retailers have finally woken up to the fact that America’s Black Friday draws hundreds of thousands of Canadians across the border every year and they too will be holding Black Friday events although, in typical Canadian fashion it will be a tad more subdued. Apparently they don’t understand the concept.

Canadian retailers think that by opening three hours earlier and labeling their regular sale a Black Friday blowout, Canadians will opt to stay home and pay higher prices than those they will pay in The States after they finally elbow their way into a store.

Good luck with that.

I have no issue with buying things on sale and, bless her heart, Maggie just loves it. Nothing makes her smile more brightly or makes her skin glow like paying less than full retail price for something but even Maggie won’t stand in line for hours to get a bargain.

But this is the era in which we now live. We condemn the greed we see in others while fighting like pigs at the trough over the remaining discounted HD flat-screen televisions. We’ll trample others to get that extra pair of half-off jeans with the free belt thrown in and in some cases we’ll actually attack others who take the last of whatever it was we wanted.

Hundreds of millions will be spent at a time when millions of people are bemoaning the state of their personal economic circumstances and demanding that the rich pay more in tax.

And people will dive into more debt with all the cavalier, devil-may-care attitude of a stunt pilot on crack cocaine.

The major difference between being in a store on Black Friday and being in church on a given Sunday is that when people pray on Black Friday, they really mean it.

“Oh God, please don’t let them be sold out of what I want before I get into the store.”

Almost $1 billion will be spent in one day and for what? It will be spent for more ‘stuff’. I guess the obvious question is, “how much stuff do we all need?” I’m having trouble coming up with giving people gift suggestions for me for Christmas.

I have lots of stuff and the stuff I don’t have I don’t seem to either miss or need. The fact that some of that stuff may be on sale on Friday doesn’t seem sufficient reason to go and fight my way through the barbarian hoard to purchase it at a reduced price.

There was another Black Friday a very long time ago. The markets crashed and the United States entered the Great Depression. The only difference between then and now is that we are participants and it isn’t our stocks that are becoming devalued — it’s us, On Black Friday, we become what we criticize.

We criticize Corporate America for its focus on generating revenue and profits but we’re the ones who provide those profits. They don’t come to our homes, take us by the ankles and turn us upside down to shake the pennies out of our pockets. We line up for the privilege of feeding the very thing we condemn.

We are the Black in Black Friday. It is our greed not theirs that fuels the feeding frenzy.

We are the ones who make it possible by our actions which can only be described as mindless greed gone out of control. It gets so bad that it can be ranked up there with the Chinese kid who sold one of his kidneys last year to get the latest Apple iPad which is already out of date.

We criticize the Walmarts and the Targets but we’re pointing our fingers in the wrong direction. They don’t call it a retail or corporate society; they call it a consumer society because it is consumers who decide the nature of the society in which we live.

We are the ones, who by our rush to acquire, lose sight of what is important. We rationalize our behaviour because a bargain is a bargain but in the end, it is no bargain if you end up selling your values and your soul for a new pair of jeans or a Tassimo coffee maker.

And in the end, that’s what Black Friday is for me; people selling themselves cheaply for stuff they don’t need.

Black Friday is coming with all the vengeance of Stinger. Be afraid and be prepared. Black Friday makes the Hunger Games look like a high school sports competition.




Black Friday


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  • Peggy

    It is with great joy that I report that I am not affected by Black Friday or any other sale. I rarely go to stores because there is nothing I want. I no longer have a TV but would not line up to buy a flat screen. You see I cancelled my cable because there was nothing worth watching. I choose not to spend my time watching the Kardashian family or Honey Boo Boo.

    I have a closet full of good quality clothes so do not need anything else. Kitchen is full of stuff so do not need any more gadgets. I have cleaned out all manner of items from my home and donated to the Salvation Army. Space is a luxury and an uncluttered home is a joy.

    Years ago my family cancelled Christmas gifts except for the kids. The kids are all adults now. We very much enjoy Christmas; it is a time to enjoy a big meal and quality time together. Gifts are not needed.

    My family and I have gradually rejected consumerism and life is better because of it.