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The Elite Distaste for Black Friday

Ah, Black Friday: The day wealthy whites are applauded for judging lower-class folks who are just trying to buy affordable gifts for their kids.

Huffington Post’s mocking headline blares “THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT!” followed by bold black and red stories of consumerism gone wild. New York’s Gawker features “The Best Walmart Thanksgiving Day Fight Videos” (I won’t dignify them with a link), while coastal elite news anchors cluck about the barbarians at the Target security gate.

I hate shopping on a regular day, let alone Black Friday. I’m hardly loaded, but would rather pay a few extra bucks to buy gifts on a slow day or online. Everyone doesn’t have that luxury.

Most of our progressive friends don’t seem to care. They cheer Walmart strikers, never noticing that the 1% doesn’t camp out for Black Friday sales. The howling picketers are merely making life more miserable for the have-nots.

The average Black Friday shopper isn’t throwing punches or trampling the infirm. And most lower-income folks waiting all night for that Xbox aren’t doing it because they’re greedy. It’s because they want to put a smile on the face of their child and possibly feel guilty they couldn’t afford one before today.

Disapproving hipsters via Shutterstock.

  1. St. Salieri

    Yes you did, by implication.

    The advocacy of thrift is to be encouraged  - as I noted.

    There is a value above consumer goods, and we do have the right to judge, since we all participate in this society.

    Providing for a family via sacrificial labor for them is not the same as shopping on Friday, let alone on the holiday itself.

    I spent Thanksgiving day with a family that is working poor, the Dad works 2 jobs, seven days a week, the Mom works full time as well, and they invited us to their dinner.  I get so sick of the elites on both sides of the ideological divide in our country talking about the poor – when I live among them and have been one, including last year.  This Dad was just thrilled to be home for a day.  However, he almost never saw his son because he was too busy playing the X-box Dad sacrificed for, finally Mom pulled the plug and they played some card games after dinner.

  2. St. Salieri

    The working poor I know would LOVE more time with their families, but many of them have been seduced into thinking if they cannot give time, they’ll give the stuff, when if they sacrificed some of the stuff they’d have the time. 

  3. EThompson
    Byron Horatio

    Sure, lots of poor people are doing it to save a few bucks, but only to buy thousands of dollars worth of unnecessary electronics.

    Only in America could one make this statement! :)

    I agree with everything you wrote, but would add that it is not simply “poor people” on the rampage;  57% of the population is out looking to get something for nothing (the new American pastime).

  4. St. Salieri

    Yes, blasphemy against GOD Market will not be tolerated.

    Some of us just don’t think all of life lives and dies in the arms of the God of the Marketplace.

    There is more to life than stuff, buying and selling.  I have no problem with the market, but I do find the manipulation of people’s desires unhealthy especially when you consider household debt in our society.

    Do I demand laws to restrict others from shopping on Friday, even Thursday if they want, NO.

    Should they have the freedom to participate, YES, absolutely.

    Do I have the freedom to see a set of behaviors that are morally unhealthy, YES.

    Do I have the power to speak out, YES

    So, what’s the problem, my participation in this debate is a form of the divine market, all hail to her and her children.

    FloppyDisk90: @4,

    Funny how some conservatives pay lip service to the free market and then look down their noses when they see it in practice. · 17 minutes ago

  5. The King Prawn

    Xbox is a terrible example as Microsoft sets the price.

  6. Okieman

    When people wait in line over night for the store to open, do they think at all about the economics involved? Dividing the savings gained on their bargains but the time spent in line, most are probably realizing less than would have been gained by spending that time at a minimum wage job.

  7. drlorentz
    Barbara Kidder: You point is painfully insightful.

    Like many others, the thought of flying around a mall, searching for great deals alongside hoards of other shoppers, does not interest me in the least.

    You remind us that there are those for whom ‘Black Friday’ is a boon. My grandfather used to say, ‘One man’s meat is another man’s poison.’

    My disdain was ill-placed;  thank you for pointing it out.

    Me too. I am duly and justly chastised.

  8. EThompson
    St. Salieri:

    There is more to life than stuff, buying and selling.  

    I have no problem with the market, but I do find the manipulation of people’s desires unhealthy especially when you consider household debt in our society.

    1. Certainly there is, but the buying and selling of stuff pays for a lot of our freedoms and individual choices.

    2. Manipulation? I think the proper term here would be lack of fiscal discipline aided and abetted by a reluctance to make the sacrifices necessary to earn a living in an uber-competitive world.

  9. FloppyDisk90

    @16,

    No problem here.  Not sure why simply noting your distaste for observed economic behavior warrants burning 150+ words in response, but so be it.

    Statist attitude:  people are dumb.  They need the government to make decisions for them.

    SoCon attitude:  people are dumb.  They need God to make decisions for them.

    Conservative attitude:  people are dumb.  We’re doomed.

  10. St. Salieri

    What does that second statement even mean – so you think those who are struggling only do so through bad choices?

    Well, one of those bad choices might be wasting money on Black Friday, which could be better spent on education or opportunities for the children to gain skills to help them compete.

    Of course buying and selling produces opportunities, but hardly the ne plus ultra of human life.

    EThompson

    St. Salieri:

    There is more to life than stuff, buying and selling.  

    I have no problem with the market, but I do find the manipulation of people’s desires unhealthy especially when you consider household debt in our society.

    1. Certainly there is, but the buying and selling of stuff pays for a lot of our freedoms and individual choices.

    2. Manipulation? I think the proper term here would be lack of fiscal discipline aided and abetted by a reluctance to make the sacrifices necessary to earn a living in an uber-competitive world. · 5 minutes ago

  11. DrewInWisconsin
    Okieman: When people wait in line over night for the store to open, do they think at all about the economics involved? Dividing the savings gained on their bargains but the time spent in line, most are probably realizing less than would have been gained by spending that time at a minimum wage job.

    That kind of math only works if they’re actually trading work time for standing-in-line time.

    Did they really give up work in order to stand in line all night, or is this how they freely decided to spend their free time. I have relatives who do the “stand in line all night” thing. (Even in freezing Wisconsin.) They enjoy it. It’s fun for them. Should I tell them to repent?

  12. St. Salieri

    Most poor are poor through bad choices, but not all, and not all can overcome the mistakes of parents or grandparents in a single generation of work.

    Luck/Fate/God’s will plays a role in human affairs no matter what you call it or what some think.

  13. St. Salieri

    Point well taken, and that was hilarious!

    FloppyDisk90: @16,

    No problem here.  Not sure why simply noting your distaste for observed economic behavior warrants burning 150+ words in response, but so be it.

    Statist attitude:  people are dumb.  They need the government to make decisions for them.

    SoCon attitude:  people are dumb.  They need God to make decisions for them.

    Conservative attitude:  people are dumb.  We’re doomed. · 5 minutes ago

  14. DrewInWisconsin
    St. Salieri:

    Well, one of those bad choices might be wasting money on Black Friday, which could be better spent on education or opportunities for the children to gain skills to help them compete.

    Begging your pardon, but that sounds extremely leftist.

    “Your Christmas gift this year is ‘education!’ and ‘skills to help you compete!’ “

    “But Dad, what I really wanted was a puppy.

  15. Mike Rapkoch

    There’s consumerism, and there’s consumerism. Folks out to find a gift for their 12 year olds are simply seeking to give the kids a little joy, no matter how brief. They show their love by braving the crowds, and risking the disappointment of failing to the find that special gift. This is, I’d say, a virtuous endeavor.

    I’m not given to this virtue. But not because I think it unseemly, nor because I fear a fight (although trampling is an ever present risk). I just don’t want to compete, just as I don’t want to watch soccer. Just a choice, not a condemnation of those who do play the game.

    Plus, this is nothing new. Years ago in my area a Penney’s store got its hands on a Cabbage Patch Kid. There was a frenzy. Hundreds showed up in hopes of winning the toy lottery. I declined to participate, but not because I was righteous, but because I thought CPKs weird. 

    Leave people alone. Christmas happens in the dark part of the year. If folks seek the little light of the joy of gift giving, let them move toward the light.

  16. Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    St. Salieri: Yes you did, by implication.

    I most certainly did not. I’ve read several articles praising consumerism and the almighty market and this is not one of them. However, I did feel the need to remind myself to be charitable this holiday season; not with gifts, but with graciousness to others who  are different from me.

    Black Friday isn’t for me. Neither is scoffing at the millions who enjoy it.

  17. 6foot2inhighheels

    I’m with Jon and Drew on this. I have a degree in retailing, and spent years in the clothing business.  Whether you’re a department manager, small shop owner or a big box franchisee,  serious nail chewing begins with the Christmas season, because the answer to whether you’ll be in business for next year lies in the sales between now and Dec. 25.  

    To dictate to people how they should celebrate Christmas, or how  they should allocate their resources, or why they should starve the consumerist beast, is nonsense.  I’s bad for business, and bad for freedom.

  18. Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    M.D. Wenzel: Those look more like yuppies than hipsters.  No ironic t-shirts,  handlebar mustaches, or knit hats in sight · 1 hour ago

    Guilty as charged.

  19. FloppyDisk90
    DrewInWisconsin

    Okieman: When people wait in line over night for the store to open, do they think at all about the economics involved? Dividing the savings gained on their bargains but the time spent in line, most are probably realizing less than would have been gained by spending that time at a minimum wage job.

    That kind of math only works if they’re actually trading work time for standing-in-line time.

    Did they really give up work in order to stand in line all night, or is this how they freely decided to spend their free time. I have relatives who do the “stand in line all night” thing. (Even in freezing Wisconsin.) They enjoy it. It’s fun for them. Should I tell them to repent? · 11 minutes ago

    I think this is an important point.  Many, many people simply enjoy the activity.  It’s not greed or (gasp!) “consumerism.”  They’re simply engaging in a social activity.

  20. St. Salieri

    Phooey! I’m not saying that there should be no toys under the tree.

    But consider:

    1. The net worth of the average single black female in the US is $5 

    2. Conservatives – see Fishtown/Charles Murray – have been saying the elites in our society practice the virtues that help succeed, but DO NOT seek to encourage the poor and those struggling up the ladder to emulate them.

    3. As Christians and Americans we used to place a huge emphasis on thrift, virtue, hard work, savings, and delayed gratification, all via self-sacrifice

    4. Now our highest virtue is to go shopping (ht Pres. Bush)…

    That’s what I am saying, and if I said it poorly or with too much invective, I apologize for the tone, but not the substance.

    DrewInWisconsin

    St. Salieri:

    Well, one of those bad choices might be wasting money on Black Friday, which could be better spent on education or opportunities for the children to gain skills to help them compete.

    Begging your pardon, but that sounds extremely leftist.

    “Your Christmas gift this year is ‘education!’ and ‘skills to help you compete!’ ”

    “But Dad, what I really wanted was a puppy.” · 2 minutes ago