Black Friday is an American nation-wide occurrence that Americans stay faithful to every single year right after the day of Thanksgiving. It has become a nationwide campaign every year to convince Americans to stand in ridiculous lines at ridiculous hours of the night in order to score in on some ‘deals’ right after a holiday where families gather to be thankful for what they have. This parody trailer of Black Friday: All Sales are Final! of the movie The Purge puts the madness into a funny perspective. In class we have talked about identities and why some things, such as American football, are so popular nationwide. What makes something American? Nationalism is something that can be identified with one’s country. While this post is mainly about Black Friday, we cannot ignore that it is the day right after Thanksgiving. It has almost become part of the national Thanksgiving holiday for many people across the nation. This past holiday when asking friends what their plans are, one of the most frequent answers involves Black Friday shopping with the family after eating a delicious meal supposedly feeling thankful for everything you have.
The media does an excellent job of justifying this irony by making everyone believe they will experience the ultimate savings on this day! What is so entrancing about saving a couple of dollars that makes it worth it to cause crowds, traffic and even stampedes? Cards Against Humanity (a card came) might not know but they sure did decide to take advantage of it. On Black Friday they sold out on 30,000 boxes of straight Bullsh**. Literally. They never pretended there was anything else in the box, they just knew everyone would run to the stores because it was the ‘ultimate deal’. $180,000 in revenue for selling poop.
Black Friday arrived in England last year (after American firms Amazon and Asda went big on it in the UK) and the result was not too pretty as seen in this video. Even some Americans felt the need to apologize: . There were stampedes and lots of Chaos in the UK this year. Not too different from here in America. There were reports of police being called because people were fighting over Barbie dolls and wrestling over Sony speakers. This year stores were opening up for Black Friday shopping earlier on Thanksgiving. Did this stop people from perhaps ending the national holiday and family time earlier? Nope. Walmart, for example, said more than 22 million people showed up for the opening between the hours of 6pm-10pm and Target had lines forming before its 8pm opening. In fact Walmart is one of the centers where chaos tends to occur on Black Friday. This year there was a disturbing trend on Twitter called #WalmartFights. It was at Walmart where in 2008 an employee was trampled to death during a Black Friday shift.
What makes Black Friday a national occurrence with such effects all over the country? Does it bring a sense of community like getting together on a Sunday night football? The communal sense of all preparing for a brutal overcrowded shopping center? Could it perhaps be a sense of competitiveness? The feeling that one could be their own winner by “experiencing the ultimate savings!”
It has become such a national thing that stores opening on the evening of Thanksgiving, an official national celebration, has not stopped millions of shoppers from lining up outside the stores. Black Friday is also known o be the time where people buy the gifts for the next national holiday: Christmas. Christmas a religious holiday where families say they get together to celebrate the birth of an important figure. That’s another topic however on how it has also been idealized by the media and social culture for a time to give the biggest and best gift ever. It’s a little disturbing how obvious it is too when seeing commercials that say things such as “This year buy the BIGGEST, BEST, MOST LUXURIOUS EXTRAORDINARY gift that they always wanted…at the right price”. Every commercial will try to convince you it is worth every chaotic consequence to end your quality time earlier to shop for material things you probably don’t really need. So what makes Black Friday such a nation-wide romanticized occurrence for millions of people to prepare for war to get the ‘best’ deals on materialistic things right after giving thanks for what you have?