I wrote this diatribe well in advance, it predates the entire COVID pandemic and I’d scheduled it for this date since last January or so. Since cases are skyrocketing and now things are as bad as they’ve ever been, maybe this post is out of step for a 2020 Thanksgiving. Or, maybe a bunch of stupid people are still planning to go Black Friday shopping anyway and it’s more relevant now than it ever could have been. We’ll see, I guess. Having just lost my grandpa though, the part about not passing up a good opportunity to see relatives is especially meaningful to me now.
Anyone who goes out shopping tomorrow, on Thanksgiving day, is doing a great disservice to themselves and their fellow man. Someone has to say it.
I know I’m going to get blowback for this post for seeming “judgmental” and criticizing the all-important capitalist-consumerist ideology we’ve entrapped ourselves in. But I don’t care. Black Friday’s spillover into Thanksgiving over the last 5~10 years is one of the most self-indicting and shameful aspects of our modern world. This occurrence is emblematic of all that is wrong with our society and I feel the need to draw a line in the sand against it. To all those whom this post may apply to, before you lash out in retaliation, please take a long hard look at your priorities and how your actions affect other people. We all should think long and hard about the fact that materialism is fast eclipsing the values which human beings have most held dear since the Stone Age, like quality time with loved ones.
I’m not here to make any individual person feel bad; I want you all to have a happy experience. But by participating in the evil, consumerist monstrosity that is Black Friday/Thursday, you’re preventing others from doing the same. Those retail employees have to sacrifice this once-guaranteed day of family bonding in order to satiate your greed. Remember that Thanksgiving is supposed to be about expressing how thankful you are for what you already have. It’s not about acting like selfish wild animals for the sole purpose of saving 30% on a shitty TV you don’t even need. Black Friday exposes the new shallowness of the holiday’s supposed appreciative sentiment as everybody scrambles to get the last [insert w/e] at a small discount.
That’s to say nothing of how pointless this manufactured shopping rush is in the post-internet era, because you get the same deals on cyber Monday, and even year round if you shop smart. To pack ourselves into stores like sardines and wrestle cheap Chinese-made goods out of each others’ hands is a petty ritual that makes a mockery of the holiday you’re shopping for. I am referring now to Christmas, which was supposed to be about celebrating the birth of a selfless hero who preached charity and chased money-lenders out of the temple. Somewhere along the line, we forgot, or allowed ourselves to be convinced, that it was about buying a bunch of cheap plastic crap and the latest electronics from the bastards who made planned-obsolescence a thing. If we all just took a step back and marveled at the spectacle, we might appreciate the damning irony.
I know nobody cares what I say and anyone who’d forego Thanksgiving to shop will do so regardless. But please, just do me this favor: be honest. When you check-out, don’t give the poor cashier a condescending, bullshit “sorry you have to work on Thanksgiving.” Tell the truth. Look that poor exploited HUMAN BEING in the eye and say “I’m a selfish, greedy fuck who’d rather save a few bucks than let you have just one uninterrupted day of happiness with your loved ones. ‘Tis the season!”
While you’re at it, don’t bother spinning a yarn to your grandparents–who will be gone from this Earth sooner than you may think–that you just have to get them “the perfect Christmas present!” In the first place, many Black Friday shoppers I’ve seen in real life are shamelessly getting themselves presents. And even if your purchases are intended to go to other people, I guarantee you that Grandma would rather see her family for this rare occasion out of the whole year anyway. Just tell them the truth: say you’d rather wait in line and trample innocent people to death in a mad panic than enjoy their company while it lasts.
I mean, it’s not even like nobody enjoys Black Friday and merely participate out of necessity because they desperately need the savings either. All these people I see on social media every year bragging about being first in line, boasting about getting away from their “boring” family, even openly parking illegally to be involved in the madness all make me sick. I distinctly remember in one of my college classes once, the teacher asked us “So, how was everyone’s Black Friday?” Not how was our Thanksgiving, how are our families doing, no, she wanted to know how our mad shopping rush turned out. The fact that this attitude is so normalized is just utter insanity. America’s current culture has its priorities so totally out of whack that it should disgust anyone with an ounce of humanity left in them.
Charlie Brown would be ashamed of you people, not to mention good ol’ moss-back George. The fantasy I refer to in the title of this post is a day when this capitalist-consumerist nightmare finally ends and people are put above profit (or in this case, savings,) once more. You, personally, may not have started this trend by being a private citizen. But you can certainly help to end it by decreasing the demand for opening on Thanksgiving day. Stop patronizing this artificial shopping rush and remember what’s really important before it’s too late.