Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Looking Down on Black Friday

 

On a recent Black Friday, the New York Times asked its readership “What Does Black Friday Mean for You?” A few choice comments revealed the tone of the other 396:

To me it means getting in the car with my spouse and adult daughters and heading to Cape May…Birding! None of us buy into this nonsensical consumer binge day.

Retail stampedes are not my idea of fun. I start Christmas shopping early in the year buying mostly from vacation destinations.

[Thanksgiving] used to be the ONE non-commercialized holiday, all about family, food and tradition. Decades of union busting and capitalistic message crafting later, it’s about shopping, and the mechanism is in place to make it so. We CAN take it back and should!

Black Friday = Uncivilized people crazy on buying cheap plastic stuff from China

I must confess I went to Black Friday once, because I traveled to NC to visit a friend for the Holidays.

You poor dear. Luckily, confession is good for the soul.

As the Times readership proves, Black Friday is the day wealthy whites are applauded for judging lower-class folks who are just trying to buy affordable gifts for their kids.

I hate shopping any day, let alone Black Friday. I have no interest in teeming crowds, midnight sales or much of the merchandise on offer. I do plenty of Christmas shopping each year, but would rather pay a few extra bucks to buy gifts on a slow day or, more likely, online. But I know that not everyone has that luxury.

Many of our progressive friends don’t seem to care. They cheer Walmart strikers, never noticing that the One Percent doesn’t camp out for Black Friday sales. Unions bus in mobs to scream in the faces of lower-middle-class customers, workers and guards. Way to stick it to The Man.

The howling picketers aren’t hurting the Waltons or shareholders, but merely making life more miserable for the have-nots.

The average Black Friday shopper isn’t throwing punches or trampling the infirm. A big chunk of today’s activity won’t even be for gifts, but rather clothes, bedding and appliances for which families can’t pay full retail. And most lower-income folks waiting all night for that PlayStation 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 assuage the guilt that they couldn’t afford one before today.

It’s always a balancing act determining how much money to spend on your kids versus teaching them the limits of consumerism. One week I worry that I’m depriving my kids of time and money and the next worry that I’m smothering them with too much of both. I am confident that I spend less on my kids than most parents in our income bracket. We have no “gaming system” and our ancient tube TV couldn’t hook up to it if we did. Does this make me more righteous than the new Visigoths sacking the electronics aisle or does it just mean I’m a cheapskate? Heck if I know.

Black Friday isn’t for me. Neither is scoffing at the millions who rely on it.
A version of this article was published on a previous Black Friday.
Image via K2 images / Shutterstock.com

There are 53 comments.

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  1. Illiniguy Member
    Illiniguy Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    “We have no “gaming system” and our ancient tube TV couldn’t hook up to it if we did. Does this make me more righteous than the new Visigoths sacking the electronics aisle or does it just mean I’m a cheapskate”

    A little bit of both, it would seem. Do you “bird”?

    • #1
    • November 28, 2014, at 6:16 AM PST
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  2. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    Dude, no gaming system? You have now diminished both the imaginations and the futures of your children.

    I mean, seriously – what would my life had been like without this?

    Yars-Revenge

    • #2
    • November 28, 2014, at 6:32 AM PST
    • 1 like
  3. Kay of MT Member

    LOL. I hate shopping with a passion, but love saving money. However, I have a daughter that loves.. loves to shop. So yesterday I gave her some money, a few idea of some things I would like to have and let her go. I spent the rest of the day after a good dinner with a good book. She was able to get me a $40 item for $13, herself an $80 pair of boots for $20, and this at Hershbergers not Wal-Mart. The sales are wonderful for those of us on a limited budget, the crowds are pretty bad. But doesn’t it say something that there are so many people that find the sales an absolute necessity?

    • #3
    • November 28, 2014, at 6:52 AM PST
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  4. Doug Watt Moderator

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:On a recent Black Friday, the New York Times asked its readership “What Does Black Friday Mean for You?” A few choice comments revealed the tone of the other 396:

    To me it means getting in the car with my spouse and adult daughters and heading to Cape May…Birding! None of us buy into this nonsensical consumer binge day.

    Birding! That reminds me I forgot to check Cabela’s for any Black Friday deals on shotguns.

    • #4
    • November 28, 2014, at 6:54 AM PST
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  5. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: The average Black Friday shopper isn’t throwing punches or trampling the infirm. A big chunk of today’s activity won’t even be for gifts, but rather clothes, bedding and appliances for which families can’t pay full retail. And most lower-income folks waiting all night for that PlayStation 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 assuage the guilt that they couldn’t afford one before today.

    That’s our story. Chauvinist the Elder and I have availed ourselves of Black Friday shopping over the last four years for the express purpose of buying a year’s worth of wardrobe. Never saw any fights. We were even there early enough to avoid most lines. It was just a tremendously efficient way to resupply our clothes at reasonably good prices.

    Not this year. Under the Obama economy, we’re making our clothes last longer.

    • #5
    • November 28, 2014, at 6:55 AM PST
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  6. Guruforhire Member

    Yeah, the smug nonsense from rich white people who already have all nice stuff is very unpleasant. I am a well to do white person, and I don’t feel the need to hate. Maybe its because I know a lot of people for whom the sales are meaningful towards their quality of life.

    My wife is going to get the same things she does every year:

    – A new pair of Christian Louboutin heels

    – The united way ornament from times remembered (I get one every year and we have one for nearly every year of our marriage)

    – a charm from Tiffanys.

    – and maybe 1 other random accessory

    We already have most of the other electronics and mass consumer items a person could need so black friday isn’t a thing for me. Besides due to scheduling today is family thanksgiving dinner, so I am packing up the mother in law and the wife and heading to Baltimore to have a fantastic dinner with my family.

    • #6
    • November 28, 2014, at 7:03 AM PST
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  7. DrewInWisconsin Doesn't C… Coolidge

    I would totally go birding on Cape May if that were an option today.

    I have little interest in hitting “Black Friday” sales either (and by the way, I loathe that moniker).

    But I’m on board with Jon’s view here.

    Until this year, my sister-in-law’s family headed up a local charity that would give out gifts to the needy at Christmas time. So on Black Friday, she would gather up all the family members who were willing, and they’d hit all the sales, buying as much as they could . . . so they could give it away!

    And they would never, ever in a million years be mistaken for one-percenters. (Though some of them might be mistaken for a biker gang.)

    The only reason they aren’t doing it this year is because they’ve moved to Texas. Otherwise I have no doubt they’d be out there today filling shopping carts with gifts that would be wrapped up in brightly-colored Christmas paper and given away at a Christmas dinner for the needy.

    So glad Judgy McJudgerson knows what’s best. Otherwise I might mistaken those evil shoppers for good people. I’ve obviously made that mistake in the past.

    • #7
    • November 28, 2014, at 7:22 AM PST
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  8. Jim Chase Member
    Jim Chase Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Chris Campion:Dude, no gaming system? You have now diminished both the imaginations and the futures of your children.

    I mean, seriously – what would my life had been like without this?

    Yars-Revenge

    I have just been transported back in time.

    • #8
    • November 28, 2014, at 7:33 AM PST
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  9. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jim Chase:

    Chris Campion:Dude, no gaming system? You have now diminished both the imaginations and the futures of your children.

    I mean, seriously – what would my life had been like without this?

    Yars-Revenge

    I have just been transported back in time.

    You can play it here in your browser:

    https://www.atari.com/arcade/yars_revenge

    (On second thought, don’t bother. It’s a cheesy flash remake, not actually the original game. Weak!)

    • #9
    • November 28, 2014, at 7:46 AM PST
    • Like
  10. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: As the Times readership proves, Black Friday is the day wealthy whites are applauded for judging lower-class folks who are just trying to buy affordable gifts for their kids.

    I do my binge shopping on Boxing Day.

    • #10
    • November 28, 2014, at 7:47 AM PST
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  11. donald todd Inactive

    Whatever else is going on, there is money to be made, hence the black Friday sales efforts. Whoever started this idea, others have bought in and gotten on board so it is now a fixture on the business calendar, hence on the buyers’ calendars.

    Might the same $$ be saved on a successive day? Probably, but one never knows if the potential customer will arrive at a competitor’s location and find the same item at a healthy discount and purchase it, thereby depriving the first business of this particular sum of money.

    I am a proponent of capitalism but wish that some kind of constraint were available so that other very important things, such as people, might be enjoyed rather than the rush from place to place to purchase gifts for important people who aren’t being enjoyed because of the opportunity to save some $$.

    If you want to know what is important to a person, watch and see what he or she does. That is what is most important.

    • #11
    • November 28, 2014, at 8:39 AM PST
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  12. David Williamson Inactive

    Now we can be smug about the Brits stampeding on Black Friday – and they don’t even have Thanksgiving ;-)

    Smugly, I do most of my shopping on Amazon, and they have had Black Friday sales all week – all year, actually …

    So, for me, Black Friday is a quiet afternoon on the Golf Course, and Mark Steyn guest-hosting for Rush – yay!

    • #12
    • November 28, 2014, at 8:40 AM PST
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  13. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Is it racist to call it “black”? Shouldn’t it be the Friday of Color? Or better yet, since it follows the colonial, imperialistic and Eurocentric holiday of Thanksgiving, the “Indigenous Friday”?

    (As a certain Hollywood producer would ask, do you have Redskin in the Game?)

    • #13
    • November 28, 2014, at 8:53 AM PST
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  14. Al Sparks Thatcher

    I don’t look down on people looking for a bargain. But an event like Black Friday encourages a mob mentality that shows human beings in a bad light.

    I look down on the merchants who participate in that event, as well as the consumers. Find your bargains elsewhere. They’re there to be had.

    • #14
    • November 28, 2014, at 9:42 AM PST
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  15. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I’m spending black Friday at the gun store.

    • #15
    • November 28, 2014, at 9:42 AM PST
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  16. Brad B. Inactive

    My cheapskated-ness is matched only by my loathing for traffic, so I will blessedly be a non-participant in today’s activities. I just do all my shopping online anyway. I’m claustrophobic; can’t stand those crowds.

    • #16
    • November 28, 2014, at 9:52 AM PST
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  17. Mike Rapkoch Moderator

    People flock here from all over the place. This is the only town within 150 miles that has Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and a large Mall. Since we all have free will they are free to choose. The only thing that irritates a bit is the waiting line at area restaurants. But the way I figure it they got there first. I don’t do BF, but as distasteful as it can be, I don’t begrudge anyone a bargain.

    Or the first chance to take the kids to Santa.

    • #17
    • November 28, 2014, at 10:05 AM PST
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  18. Kay of MT Member

    Mike Rapkoch: People flock here from all over the place

    Our next closest town is about 100 miles away that has all the major box stores, etc., so the traffic in this area is insane. Especially when the Canadians come down.

    • #18
    • November 28, 2014, at 10:23 AM PST
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  19. Jules PA Member

    Never did BF, never will. Don’t begrudge anyone the pleasure, but I am grateful this shopping frenzy is not a tradition in our family.

    It is the supposed frenzy of it that I find distasteful.

    Sometimes I wonder that the people who desperately need the discounts are the ones manning the check-out lines–thus excluded from the discounts. I guess the only thing they have as a balance might be an employee discount.

    • #19
    • November 28, 2014, at 10:47 AM PST
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  20. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    I have half a pumpkin pie left to eat. My day is pretty well scheduled.

    • #20
    • November 28, 2014, at 10:53 AM PST
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  21. Son of Spengler Contributor

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: A version of this article was published on a previous Black Friday.

    This year, the criticisms I’ve heard are a little different: People are critical of the growing number of stores that start their sales on Thanksgiving itself.

    I think these criticisms generally miss the real story. Since 2008, consumers have divided more starkly between those on a budget, and those with means. Those in the former group budget their Christmas shopping too. That means that retailers such as Walmart, Target, et al. are not aiming to induce consumers to spend more. Rather, their goal is to capture a larger share of the (fixed) spending. To that end, they are opening earlier, and discounting more deeply on BF and Thanksgiving, in an attempt be the first place Christmas shoppers spend their money — before the budget shoppers exhaust their budgets. Meanwhile, shoppers on a budget cannot afford to pass up the BF discounts.

    This is not a sign of a healthy and growing economy.

    • #21
    • November 28, 2014, at 11:22 AM PST
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  22. DrewInWisconsin Doesn't C… Coolidge

    Well, I did stop by the grocery store today. Know what they had on sale?

    Bacon.

    Yes, I did.

    • #22
    • November 28, 2014, at 11:28 AM PST
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  23. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    I am spending some of Black Friday visiting my best girlfriend in the hospital. She had a knee replacement on Wednesday, and had to spend Thanksgiving there. I’m taking her a big slice of chocolate cake.

    • #23
    • November 28, 2014, at 11:34 AM PST
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  24. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    David Williamson:Now we can be smug about the Brits stampeding on Black Friday – and they don’t even have Thanksgiving ;-)

    Smugly, I do most of my shopping on Amazon, and they have had Black Friday sales all week – all year, actually …

    So, for me, Black Friday is a quiet afternoon on the Golf Course, and Mark Steyn guest-hosting for Rush – yay!

    You’re killing me. 18 right now would be fantastic. Too bad it’s 23 degrees and there’s 3 inches of snow on the ground.

    • #24
    • November 28, 2014, at 12:25 PM PST
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  25. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    I bought a dress shirt at Brooks Brothers because I had a gift card for $25 bucks and turns out they had a sale, so a shirt that normally sells for ~$60 I got for about $15.

    But it’s pure coincidence I was out shopping today. I just had this on my “to do” list for today.

    • #25
    • November 28, 2014, at 12:29 PM PST
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  26. EThompson Inactive

    Guruforhire:My wife is going to get the same things she does every year:

    – A new pair of Christian Louboutin heels

    – a charm from Tiffanys.

    Gasp … You must know my husband?!!

    • #26
    • November 28, 2014, at 1:14 PM PST
    • Like
  27. Kay of MT Member

    I never spend much on Holiday shopping. I’ve pretty much shot my wad for Dec anyway already. Today is my elder daughter’s birthday, we have been alienated for some years. My younger daughter called her, and miracles of miracles she answered her phone. So younger daughter is taking her to dinner and a movie. Younger daughter is semi-employed, so money is tight for her. I told her not to worry about the dinner and movie as I would reimburse her. Good day for me as well, my daughters are in communication again, and I get to do something nice for them.

    • #27
    • November 28, 2014, at 1:43 PM PST
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  28. donald todd Inactive

    Kay of MT: #27 “I’ve pretty much shot my wad”

    Actually Kay, that is a man’s phrase and has nothing to do with shopping.

    • #28
    • November 28, 2014, at 2:02 PM PST
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  29. Kay of MT Member

    Donald Todd:Kay of MT: #27 “I’ve pretty much shot my wad”

    Actually Kay, that is a man’s phrase and has nothing to do with shopping.

    You’ve got to be joking! I’ve always heard the expression as a “wad” or “roll” of money carried in you pocket. You young whipper-snappers are changing old expressions into so something nasty.

    • #29
    • November 28, 2014, at 2:22 PM PST
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  30. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I hate crowds, and I wouldn’t participate in Black Friday if they were selling hundred-dollar bills for 20 bucks.

    But the attitude(s) expressed by the New York Times readership has me reconsidering.

    • #30
    • November 28, 2014, at 2:24 PM PST
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