Let’s remember something, people. Black Friday isn’t a celebration of how greedy we all are. Black Friday is a celebration of how cheap we all are. The crowds camp out all night in the hopes of finding something far more elusive than a giant LCD flat screen or a Wii. Oh, no, the thing we covet more than any good or service is the almighty bargain. The stuff they’re selling on Black Friday has been there for quite some time. It’s the deal that is available only at 4 am. The stores aren’t packed at dawn because people want to revel in how much we have. No! We want to boast about how little we paid! We love getting stuff for as little as possible.
Look, I know it looks bad to see people camped out in front of a Best Buy. Sure it makes us look greedy to see shopping carts overflowing with swelling waves of retail crapola. But nobody would be complaining if this were National Garage Sale day. And you don’t think those people will wake up ridiculously early at the hopes of paying next to nothing for something of questionable value? If the day after the first Thanksgiving feast had been followed by a mass flea market bonanza, and that tradition had stuck, we wouldn’t find ourselves bemoaning the excesses of American consumption. Heck, if any day is marked by how much we consume, it’s Thanksgiving, is it not?
I’m convinced. We shouldn’t call it Black Friday. We should call it Frugal Friday.
The hypocrisy of it all is that as we shake our heads in disgust at the stampeding herds of customers trampling over each other in the hunt for an off-brand digital photo frame, we hope they spend enough to give the economy a boost. We want to cast superior sneers at the shoppers (especially when we’re in line behind them), but we’re secretly praying for a retail boom and a boost of consumer confidence. It may be greed, it may be frugality–whatever it is, we hope it leads us to solid financial footing.
So don’t give in to the temptation to judge society based on one day or even one season of shopping habits. Weren’t we just giving thanks a few hours ago as we sat around tables that groaned beneath the seismic weight of homecooked hyperbole? Are we suggesting that God provided the food but Satan brought the blu-ray? Come on. Gratitude for what God has given should last at least as long as the leftover turkey.