It’s that time of year again. The time of year when we are reminded, in Canada, that Americans have Thanksgiving a month later than we do. And a reminder, if you work in retail, that you are about to get a shit-kicking you think you’ll never forget. But then Christmas happens. And then it happens again the next year.
Most baffling of all, to me anyway, is the implacable creep of this bald-facedly manufactured event.
“Oh, Black Friday sales started last Wednesday, didn’t you know.”
“Black Friday deals on paving bricks, macaroni and jeans!”
“Black Friday! Buy Something! Anything!” And a huge percentage of people buy into it, not questioning how one thing lead to another and brought us a day where some are so concerned with getting that deal they will literally fight you for it. Yet, most are entirely unconcerned with the fact they have nowhere to put that new hundred inch TV. They got an amazing deal on it, after all.
But its not really the shoppers I’m concerned with. We live in a free market. If you want to throw away your money on another huge TV, another mountain of blu-rays or another ‘audio solution’, it is your right to do so. Where this ritual indulgence in consumption becomes a problem, is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.
The poor bastards working at every store, electronics or otherwise, are the ones who will bear the brunt of the chaos tomorrow. Following the orgiastic display in years past, I have been left with the fallout of teeth so tightly clenched I thought I might have been punched in the face and simply not noticed. That seemed like a plausible explanation; the clamouring crowds can reach such a fever pitch that almost anything is possible. Shopping carts, elbows and, in Canada, winter boots are the weapons in this big-box Thunderdome.
So maybe someone took umbrage because the thing they had dreamt of buying was only half off, instead of three-quarters. Maybe they looked around for the nearest employee and took it out on them, as they always do. This time it was merely a physical assault. There is no dignity to be attacked on this day. By some collective agreement everyone has left their shame at the door.
I have seen grown men bound into a store, ducking beneath an only partially raised door, like children on Christmas morning. To those poor bastards’ dismay, though, there were no heaps of XBOnes marked free and no TVs so cheap it would cost you more not to buy them. Call me sadistic, but that look of sheer bafflement, that there is no Scrooge McDuck pool of amazing deals waiting for him to dive into, is a work of art that puts the Mona Lisa to shame. Maybe thats just me.
Either way, I am a traitor. I won’t be going so far as to partake in the event, but neither am I working it. By some administrative fluke, I have been able to avoid the vast majority of the Black Friday lead up. The anarchy and chaos will be everyone else’s problem this year. A tiny voice in the back of my mind whispers that I should be there helping, I should be there suffering as well. But then the much louder, much more rational part of my mind talks over that guilty lunatic and asks how much I enjoy anxiety attacks and dental damage. Thank RNGesus I managed to avoid it, for at least one year.
But the disorder will subside. Things will go back to the usual level of madness, and everyone will start eyeballing the next opportunity to shamelessly spend and spend and spend. In only a few short weeks it will all be over. The new year will roll in, and everyone will be far too hung over to go marauding through stores. What a strange and wonderful world I live in, where I find myself hoping, nay begging, for that hangover. Just a few more weeks. Just a few more weeks…