Culture

Rambling Dispatches: Black Friday

black friday

Every week in Rambling Dispatches, resident malcontent Quinn McGee rants about whatever he damn well pleases.

Well, I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving break. I had a pretty good one, except that one of my favorite events of the year was ruined. I’m talking about Black Friday. Yep, I am one of those corporation-feeding bastards who revels in this event every year. First off, to anyone who just openly hates on Black Friday, better line up for the Hypocrite merit badge, because you just earned it. All of the haters must have never been to a sale, or paid full price for every item they own, right? That has to be the only way you can escape being a hypocrite on this point. It’s bastardizing a holiday season just to raise money, you say?

May I remind you about the Labor Day, Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day sales that happen every year without the same pomp and circumstance that Black Friday gets? Those holidays are meant to honor hardworking people and those who have served and died in the military so you don’t have to, and yet people go out and buy grills and food and tools for themselves every year. So Black Friday haters, where is the anger over these holidays? I hope you boycott by never going to a single party on these days because the food being served there is brought to you by the greedy corporations you are going to actively despise just a few months later in the year. That all being said, I’m totally not salty about those people in any way. (Burn in hell.) I do have to agree with them on one count, though. Black Friday is really becoming a part of Thanksgiving.

Every year, I go out with my friends to go and buy things on Black Friday. Mostly I just buy movies and don’t spend a lot of money. I also go out for the entertainment value of seeing people trample other people for the sake of cheap electronics. Now, I don’t go shopping for other people ever, because Black Friday is totally not about that. The gifts there are either too cheap or too expensive to be bought for someone other than a wife or husband or child. The cheap stuff tends to be stuff you should already own, or stuff that never had any business being sold at full price in the first place, like the Nicolas Cage movie I bought for a dollar or Jonah Hex. The expensive stuff is just televisions and stereo systems that most buy to replace the stuff they have. Let’s get the whole buying gifts thing out of the way right now. Black Friday, for me, is the one night I get to be selfish and just enjoy other people’s selfish behavior. And the earliness of the sales basically guarantees that the people waiting in line are people who either have no family or have forsaken them.

This Black Friday, I was denied both of these things, because Black Friday gets progressively earlier and earlier each year. Most of the big sale places (Target, Wal-Mart, K-Mart) all had their sales start at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. I have family, so I don’t have the ability to go out at that time. When I went out, everything was all picked over and the people were gone. I was able to see people at Best Buy and get in the door when the store opened, but even there the rush was subdued. And if the sales didn’t happen before midnight, then they weren’t going to happen until 5 a.m. Friday. There are a few issues with this, the main one being that this means people won’t get drunk and belligerent before the sales start, so I won’t get to see any proper fighting. People don’t go to Thanksgiving dinner and forego the glass of wine because they know they have to get to the sales early. I was still eating food when the first door opened. By being a normal human being on Thanksgiving, I was denied one of the parts of Black Friday that I so enjoy.

The other issue was that when I did finally go to the stores, I was only able to buy a few movies, as they were all picked over. Have you ever wondered what the low end of a bell curve looked like? I saw that at a Bolingbrook, Illinois Wal-Mart. It looked like the inside of an old triage center with all of its products scattered about and employees moving boxes, frantically speaking like they were cleaning up after a natural disaster. My friends and I called it quits relatively early on Black Friday because of the poor showing of products for people who wanted to enjoy the traditional Black Friday experience, which involves staying up all night looking for crap and then falling asleep behind the wheel because of the lack of sleep. All you haters and lovers of Black Friday better get ready, because next year people are going to be brown-bagging Thanksgiving dinner and taking it to the line for Black Friday. Maybe I should tailgate…