Black Friday Is a Black Eye on America’s National Culture

I have always disdained Black Friday, but my rancor for this consumer-driven, marketing monster that demands we spend money on a certain day each year has grown into full-blown loathing.

What used to be a one-day event to spur sales so that retailers could end the year in the black has morphed into at least a week of pre-Black Friday deals.

The relentless messaging through social media, email and internet advertisements urging already debt-laden consumers to spend may—if we are lucky—result in a big black eye in 2019.

Nothing shames or appalls me as much as the annual display of greed and overt consumerism we are treated to every Black Friday. News clips and articles depict idiotic Americans stampeding in malls across the nation to purchase cheap trinkets, fast fashion or the latest digital gadget made by near slave labor overseas.

Via The Daily Mail.
Via The Daily Mail.

I am old enough to remember when everything was closed on Thanksgiving and the holidays weren’t about preparing to camp outside big box stores or malls in the cold to buy stuff before you could digest your sweet potatoes. I’m also old enough to remember when families didn’t shop in lockstep to corporate dog whistles.

It’s no secret that the media would just like to dispense with Thanksgiving entirely, as evidenced by the increase in articles by major media outlets disparaging it. It routinely targets the one American holiday that cherishes thankfulness, family and bounty by attacking its origins and meanings and intruding on family time with relentless calls to go shopping.

But it seems like many of us have had enough of rampant consumerism pushed by global corporations and the attack on Thanksgiving. This popular meme sums up the feeling of many Americans and is making the rounds on Facebook.

Researcher David Jinks of delivery firm ParcelHero said, “This year we believe disillusioned online shoppers will join high street shoppers in losing interest in Black Friday, leading to no overall growth for the first time.”

According to Fortune, “There is little doubt that deals are being dangled in front of shoppers earlier and earlier each year and 2019 hasn’t been an exception.

“Walmart jumped into Black Friday-style deals in October. Target and Amazon also started their deals earlier this year. Kohl’s, which eked out a tiny sales increase last quarter (a 0.4% increase, won only by discounting heavily), is offering daily deals for the whole season, the first time it is trying that tactic.

“The result is the continuation of a years-long dilution of the importance of Black Friday itself.”

Let us hope so. The bromide to Black Friday and giving this corporate “holiday” a big, fat black eye is to stop participating in the madness. Build memories, not stuff. It won’t cost you a thing. #Reignwell