Black Friday at Walmart–Commercialization of Everything

Black Friday scenes like this make it hard not to worry about our society.

Well, sure, they’re willing to sacrifice a chunk of their holiday time, and most of their self respect, but they did get that thing that’s not really that important to give to someone on that day when everybody has been convinced by marketers that it is important to give a thing to someone else to celebrate the birth of a universal superbeing that personally judges everyone (and who also created the universe)…

However, they were able to “save” a few bucks (though, I suspect, not many consider that as a result of this “saving”, they actually have even fewer bucks) off prices intentionally printed on packaging or signage specifically to create the illusion of saving money during a special “sale”. So, it all makes sense. Not.

I realize this video shows only one slice of society, that not everyone, everywhere, is like this. But still, it’s part of our society. And, it seems to be spreading. It’s not been that long since people found it rather crass that stores were opening at 5 AM on Black Friday. Then it moved back to midnight, and now, we don’t even wait until Friday. Just this year, The Big Mall in Ann Arbor announced, for the first time ever, it would be open on Thanksgiving Day and that this is the start of a “new Thanksgiving tradition.”

Briarwood Mall now open on Thanksgiving

Midnight on Black Friday is not Soon Enough

Even the term “Black Friday” has shed any pretense of what the holidays are all about. Usage of the term “Black Friday” originated in the early 1960′s in Philadelphia in reference to the generally disrupted swarms of pedestrian and vehicle traffic that flooded Philadelphia’s shopping districts the day after Thanksgiving. In recent years, however, it is more commonly understood to refer to the day on which retailers begin to turn a profit for the year (i.e., go into the black).

Like a malignancy, Black Friday is spreading beyond our borders. In the UK, PC Advisor just ran an article to educate its readers about Black Friday. Reading this article, especially between the lines, provides a fascinating look at how, and why, the Black Friday meme is spreading internationally.

So, yes, the scenes from Black Friday at Walmart show just a slice of society, and not a particularly flattering slice, at that. But when we look more deeply, we realize that the Walmart frenzy is just one of the more blatant symptoms of a particularly virulent strain of the-commercialization-of-everything that is continuing to spread.

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