What the "Black" Really Means in "Black Friday"

The shopping day after Thanksgiving has come to be known as "Black Friday," referring to retailers getting back 'into the black' financially after offering huge discounts to shoppers as loss leaders, and opening their doors at 5:00 a.m. or even earlier.  Thanksgiving, the day before Black Friday, stores were closed, as they are on Christmas.  For many stores, such as large supermarket chains, these two holidays are the only ones during which they are closed.

This year, I was surprised and a bit dismayed to see that many stores began their 'Black Friday' sales on Thursday--Thanksgiving day.  And they were open for business, business and the bottom-line coming first, ahead of giving thanks and celebrating with family.

I was curious to find out whether in this weak economy, retailers did as well as expected on Black Friday, so as soon as Shabbat was over, I headed over to my PC to see the stats.  Instead, I discovered another year of violence, stolen purchases and injured shoppers. So this is what America has come to? The craziness of camping out at a store in the middle of the night in a tent for hours in the freezing cold is now topped by an 'every-man-for-himself' attitude, with people getting pepper-sprayed, or worse--shot?

I remember the incident at a New York Walmart on Black Friday in 2008, a store employee was trampled to death by shoppers, and a pregnant woman was injured:

Kimberly Cribbs, who witnessed the stampede, said shoppers were acting like "savages."
"When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling `I've been on line since yesterday morning,'" she said. "They kept shopping."
 So these are America's values lately; push past people, get there first in the middle of the night with little or no sleep in order to get your coveted item, be it a plasma HDTV, a camera, or towels* (*see video) at a discount store.  The mob scenes remind me of a third-world country, where people are starving and killing each other to get at the bags of rice.  Only here, it's a first-world country where most people have a roof over their heads and plenty of food on the table, and they are attacking each other for...coffee makers.

America, the home of the brave and the free, has really fallen down...

As my D. H. (Dear Hubby, in case you didn't know what the initials stand for) said, "people lose their humanity to save a hundred bucks."


Batya said…
Is it worth it? Do they hug their children with such devotion?
I can't imagine shopping online except for sales like these.
μαρτυς said…
Those selfish, grasping people are all too human, I'm afraid. It's the general civility of times past that was "unhuman". When He takes His restraining hand off of us, we descend quickly.
Lady-Light said…
Batya: My gut feeling is probably not, but I don't want to articulate it; I hope I'm wrong.
Martus*: That is what "free will" is all about, I would have to add, unfortunately. Sometimes I get very depressed, thinking about humanity and the state of the world.
*I would have liked to type your name in Greek, but I don't yet know how to do that on my pc!

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