Friday, November 19, 2010

Black Friday is Capitalist Overkill

I've been going through my rss feeds and the only think that keeps popping up is stuff for the after Thanksgiving sales - known to the retail world as Black Friday.And if you happen to be an unfortunate soul that works retail this day is known as pure hell. Dear Public: you are full on turkey and carbs, and have just come out of a food coma, is this the best time to go shopping? If you are even going to find a place to park. Maybe you'll get lucky and finding a parking spot will take less than 30 minutes.

When I was growing up, the day after Thanksgiving was putting up the tree in my Grandparent's sitting room. Eating leftovers, and relaxing. This will date me, but I remember sitting in the living room with my dad and grandfather watching the Cotton Bowl. My mother was not franticaly trying to get us up and out of bed at 4am so we can get to the mall for the early bird specials. Or to rush the gaming console counter to try and to get the last XBox.

I never worked a Black Friday until I was 18 working at World of Science in Lafayette, Louisiana. That was hell. I was also the stocking manager which was a bit of a nightmare.The next Black Friday was worse as I was now at a toy store. Luckily, my manager from the previous store came with me to this one. We spent a lot of time smoking cigarettes in the delivery entrance. The day went like this: open store at 5:30am and get bum rushed by the crowd who's been waiting for 45 min. They're all ready very cranky. Kids are on the loose, the Barbie aisle gets taken out, and the stack of tonka trucks is not a jenga set kid. He toppled over a 6 foot display of tonka trunks for really no reason whatsoever. In fifteen minutes the store had been destroyed, it was too crazy to stop and eat, people were arguing in line, and hustling the cashiers telling them that they're selling the same item 4 stores over for 5 bucks cheaper. Are these merry Christmas shoppers? Hell no. These are the same dumb fucks that go crazy over tax free weekend (an 8% off sale is not a great deal). 

Think about it, whatever you didn't max your credit card out on Black Friday they have something more up their sleeve. Prices fall all through December, not because of demand, but because the stores need room for new inventory, so anything Christmas has got to go. I refuse to go shopping during the holidays. It's stressful, people are at their worst, they are blowing their paychecks on cheap toys made in China (probably with lead) that WILL break with in 5 days instead of keeping up with the mortgage. At this particular toy store, most items were returned because they were cheap and broke. I sold $42 worth of toys right after Christmas, the returns were a -$2,000. Bottom line: don't buy crap.

The credit companies are loving this. They wait for the news to announce how much Wal-mart made that one day. If sales beat last years it's going to be a great year. Lots of people defaulting on their credit cards. More fees and overage charges that you won't be able to pay for months. It's a scheme!!!

And this is why I am not participating this year. No Christmas for Grace. It's bullshit. Those good ol' Christians decided to but baby Jesus' birthday closer to the winter solstice, perhaps to get some of the pagans in on the gift giving pandemonium. I'm not saying Jesus didn't exist, I'm just saying that I don't think this is what he had in mind. Let's all empty our bank accounts to buy stuff for other people that they don't need, that you don't need, that no one really needs.

I will be donating a few coats to Goodwill and I'm compiling scans of family photos for my Dad, brother, Uncle and cousins. But that is it. Christmas used to be a big family meal, a trip to church, and reasonable presents for children. Like teddy bears. Why does a six year old need a Wii? Let's see: teddy bear $6.99 or a good children's book at $11.99, Wii will set you back $150 - $420 depending on the accessories. And another thing you'll need the games at $50 a pop.

Which one would you go with if you want to spend more time with your kid? Because if you get the Wii, you won't see him or her at all except when they need food. Like they say in the army: Keep It Simple Stupid. There's no reason for anyone to go broke over Christmas. Boycott it! Except for the big family dinner. Those are important.