Simple Living/Downshifting

The Year’s Biggest Shopping Day


In the U.S. at least. The day after Thanksgiving has been the #1 shopper’s holiday since before I can remember. It is known as Black Friday, and it is the true face of an infectious disease known as consumer insanity.

It has become so influential and reaching in its magnitude that there have even been counter-consumerist movements as a reaction to this beast. People have boycotted shopping on this day, deliberately staying home and spending time with their families, refusing to take part in the madness.

The anti-Black Friday movements are appropriate enough responses, but like all counter-movements they are simply reactions to a bad thing. What is missing from this reaction is a positive replacement for shopping. I propose:

Spend Quality Time at Home With Family Friday

Otherwise known as “Packed Friday.” Hey, I couldn’t think of a better name!

The REAL problem I see with Black Friday is that shopping becomes the collective activity. While it has become an experience to remember for many, especially when the crowd gets out of hand at 4:30 in the morning in front of Macy’s or Target, it isn’t something that necessarily brings families closer together, something that these holidays purport to do.

It’s the social equivalent of sitting in front of the TV all day after a major holiday, merely in the “presence of family.” There isn’t any real interaction there, either. Shopping together is a strange way to spend time with people you have probably not seen much lately.

March of the Pigs

If you really examine the insane hording behavior of humans on this “holiday” it’s almost nauseating. Thousands and thousands of people line up at ridiculous hours to get a small discount on as many purchases as possible. They push, shove, yell, and bite each other as they desperately seek to be the first in and out of the lines. Stupid plastic toys, TV’s, gadgets, car parts, golf clubs, and other items go flying off the shelves faster than people can get their grubby little mitts on them.

Many have been injured on this day. Some have probably died. Black Friday certainly lived up to it’s name for the families of those unfortunate souls.

“Poor Harold was trampled to death in front of Wal-Mart by hundreds of women rushing to get shoes for their kids at 40% off!”

If there ever were an example of complete and utter public human madness on display, this would be it. It doesn’t even make any rational sense. Why don’t people just shop (if they really need to) on the NEXT day after thanksgiving? When did Christmas become associated with getting presents anyway? (I have the answer, but that’s for another entry.) Is an extra few bucks really worth joining the masses in a planned frenzy?

There are, of course, many other activities you can enjoy besides joining the rest of this frenzied mass of human consumerism at it’s darkest with the people you love.

I’ve said my part, so the rest is, as they say, up to you. Hopefully I have disgusted you enough to (at the very least) get you to think like a rational, intelligent human being.

You are smart, right?



  • escapee November 26, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    Well said, Mike. One of my friends rented a community center and had a big party with live bands, food, drinks, etc on Black Friday. Dancing kids everywhere. Everyone loved it. It was a much better communal experience (and about something else entirely) than shopping.


  • Mike November 27, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    That sounds like a good time! That’s a good way to “celebrate” this holiday – by doing something that is the very antithesis of what black Friday represents.

    I’m sort of ashamed to admit that I actually went out to a mall on the evening of black Friday myself, though it wasn’t to shop. It was just to observe the madness. I was curious after reading about some of what goes on and wanted to see it first-hand.

    Maybe I am just crazy 🙂


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