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Black Friday Approaches

Let’s Talk Turkey


Fight over sale
Image via Getty Images

Black Friday is not a day that celebrates good advertising. It's not even a day that celebrates good products or services.

Black Friday is, as we all know, a day that celebrates that good old-fashioned American virtue - greed.

Sure, we can all say it's about getting good deals, or saving a little extra money on the run-up to Christmas and the holiday season. But as we all know, Black Friday is not really what it used to be. The Internet gives us all a way to save on the holiday shopping. Cyber Monday allows us to get those crazy deals without setting up tents for four days outside Best Buy or Target. And many retailers have been offering huge markdowns for weeks. No, the day has changed. It's no longer just a day for good deals; now, it's a day that shows us the very worst side of consumerism.

So what is the deal with Black Friday? Why the hype, and why the hysteria?

The term "Black Friday" was coined because it was on this day that retailers would go from the red (debt) into the black (profit) because of very early 6am door openings (often called door busters) and crazy sale prices on certain items, also known as loss leaders.

Of course, the need to go bigger and better has perverted everything about this day. Now, doors will open at 1 minute past midnight. This year, some stores are planning to start Black Friday on Thursday, making it a lovely Thanksgiving for people who wanted to stay at home with family but are instead forced to work.

And why?

One word, which relates to both the stores offering consumer goods, and the consumers braving the conditions to buy them - money.

Consumers don't just want to save a little money.

They are prepared to endure lack of sleep, wet sidewalks, pushing and shoving, horrific attitudes and weary salespeople because they expect the world on a plate. They want massive TVs for 99% off. They want the Wii U that will make their kids' lives so much better, and they want it cheap. Or FREE. They want stuff.

The stores, they want all the money the consumers have, or don't have. Credit, debit, cash, it's all the same. They'll offer some genuine deals to a lucky few, and the rest will get $3 DVDs that cost the store 50 cents a pop.

Greed. Everywhere. And we celebrate it. Well, this year About.com's advertising channel is not in a celebratory mood. Should we not celebrate something a little more worthwhile than extreme consumerism? Personally, I am growing a handlebar mustache to raise money for research into prostate and testicular cancer.

On Thanksgiving, my family will all be together, enjoying each other's company. On Black Friday, I think we may just go bowling this year. I guarantee the lanes will be almost empty, as most people battle crowds in the hope of grabbing some cheap thing that will be next year's Goodwill donation.

Don't get me wrong. I am not against consumerism. I am fine with spending money on things we want, or need, or both. But this Black Friday event has become a black mark against it all. When people are dying under the crush of frantic crowds all looking for some cheap item, it's gone too far.

Black Friday…it's black in more ways than one.

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