Happy Thursday, or “Why It Might Be Okay to Shop Your Ass Off on Black Friday: my hypothesis.”


Shoppers in a mad rush to get the best Black Friday deals on grain to store for the winter.

I know, I know. I realize this year there is a big campaign to protest the rampant consumerism of Thanksgiving. In fact I know a few folks who are rather militant about it. I guess it stands to reason since this year it’s really getting out of hand. In fact, many stores are opening up even on Thanksgiving Day, for eager customers to get a jump start on their Black Friday “savings.” I agree, it’s ridiculous and out of control. So why am I saying that it might be okay to conspicuously consume on Black Friday?

Now, I’m not saying this from a political or economic perspective. I’m not pro-big business and as far as I’m concerned, Wal-Mart can suck it. I agree that the mad rush for half-price shoes and XBoxes or whatever is ridiculous and unfair to retail workers. At the same time, I’m not going to be a holier-than-thou prick and tell you not to shop on Black Friday, because really, it’s not like you’re murdering puppies or anything if you do. You might find some good deals and some people do make it a family event.

But it occurred to me as I, in a foul mood, was in the kitchen making preparations for tomorrow’s annual day of gluttony and wondering what the point of all this was, that maybe there is a point, and that maybe Black Friday is a logical development, from an anthropological point of view.

Only the United States and Canada really celebrate Thanksgiving, with the turkey and all that, as far as I know, but other cultures have their own analogs. Now, bear in mind that I have not done much research on this. I just thought of the idea this morning and I’m not familiar with the entire history of this holiday. But I do know that it is common, if not universal, among world cultures to have some sort of a “harvest festival.” Also, I think I have heard that many cultures use this time to gather grains and other foods and such to store for winter. And bears. Bears eat and live off their stored fat during hibernation.

So, maybe “Black Friday” is the result of a primal survival instinct to store as much stuff as you can for the long hard winter. Of course, buying a 50 inch flat screen TV at a 25% discount isn’t the same as hoarding grain , but maybe the instinct is still there hidden somewhere in out primitive brains. My tentative hypothesis: Black Friday stems from instinctive urge to prepare for surviving winter. Of course, this is just a hypothesis and I realize that there is a very real economic factor to Black Friday, but perhaps the reasoning holds true at the root of things. Am I reaching? What do you think?

Well, it sounds like an interesting hypothesis to me and one worthy of researching. After explaining my hypothesis to my mom right after I had that flash of genius, she responded, “So?”

Whatever the case, Thanksgiving is here and now is your chance to express your thanks. The rest of the year you can be an ingrate. I’m thankful that Thanksgiving will be over after tomorrow because I’m sick of it already.

As far as Black Friday goes, I don’t plan on doing any shopping that day, mostly because I don’t want or need to buy anything. I don’t discourage anyone against their Black Friday fun, but remember to be patient and courteous to the retail personnel and other shoppers. Please don’t punch granny in the face while fighting over that Blu-ray player.

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