Bye-Bye, Black Friday
By Calvin Tyler | BestofSWLA.com
The Death of a Titan
As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, the holidays can be hard and can leave you broke and buried in debt. But, for many, Black Friday has shined like a beacon of hope through the unwavering uncertainty of today’s economy. A day when bringing $100 to a store can mean bringing home a 70 inch LCD television. How great will the beards of Duck Dynasty look on this piece of HD brilliance! You will wonder why each strand of hair isn’t a credited member of the cast. The days of afterThanksgiving super sales is coming to an end. It was announced last month that major stores Macy’s and JC Penny would be forgoing the standard Black Friday schedule by opening their doors to the public at 8pm on Thanksgiving day. As always, competition in the marketplace has demanded others compete to keep up. Some Walmart, Target, Toy’s R Us, and even Best Buy stores are opening their doors on Turkey Thursday. What does this all mean? I’ll tell you, because I know. It means that this is the end of the world as we know it.
Why We Need Black Friday
Like the mighty ancestors who lined the walls of the colosseum to witness the glorious battles unfold between gladiator and soldier, people of the 21st century lineup outside of Kmart awaiting the almighty deal. The thrill of victory courses prematurely through their veins as they imagine grabbing the item that they have desired to own for so long, but was usually too expensive to ever attain. Nervous energy brings them to a tremble when they allow negativity to take hold, telling themselves, “you’ll never have it. The last one will be gone before you even make it through the automated doors.” It is a mashup of emotions that builds and builds until you are allowed to burst out of yourself when the gatekeepers allow the masses entrance! Moving forward in a polite manner becomes impossible as the crowd, feeling everything you have felt leading up to this moment, shoves forward with a mob mentality that takes over, creating what appears to be a hive of animals driven by an almost lost, primal instinct.
The advertisements for the Black Friday “specials” come out early in October with promises that exceed all expectations and that’s just where it starts. The same neurotransmitters in the brain that stimulate excitement for gambling begin firing on all cylinders. Euphoria takes over as you visualize all of the pretty images in the magazines existing, perfect and everlasting, throughout your home. How much better will you feel after buying that Cuisinart juicer you never knew you needed? What about a new laptop to write that novel you’ll never finish? Wow, the possibilities seem endless now. This will be the year, people! We can invest a little time outside of our favorite stores, awaiting our moment to rush to our destinies just like our forefathers did during the great “Land Run” of 1889. All of this is being threatened by the very thing that established it. Consumerism. Due to the competitive nature of business: stores are ever trying to get the oneup on eachother. We are at the verge of losing everything we’ve worked for. I understand that this all seems miniscule to most folks out there, but let me try and explain the bigger picture with a poorly used analogy. A yorkshire terrier, by all accounts, is considered a dog, but you take that yorkie, drop it off in the Alaskan Arctic for three days, then return and try to find it. I know that this is not a pretty picture to paint my brother has a Yorkie and I hope this doesn’t strike any nerves, Jordan, because I love Snickers, too but this is all necessary to put into scope how serious this issue is. Somewhere way down the line of the yorkie bloodline is a wolf. All dogs started off as some form of wolf, and wolves are more than capable of surviving in the Alaskan wilderness. But, over time, wolves have been domesticated to the point of losing all of their original survival skills. Most dogs have the hardest time going up and down stairs. This is also happening to us. We are losing something very basic.
Into the Mind of a Mad Man
It has been long documented that we have been “programmed” from birth to conform within the structure of modern society. Propaganda forces us to believe you work 8 hours, play 8 hours, sleep eight hours. You need stuff more than you need to be human. Television is what you do with your free time. Consume more than you need because people will think you’re successful and look up to you as an example to live their lives by. Be a good example to strangers. Believe the media. Buy new cars because the one you purchased 4 years ago doesn’t smell new and make you feel like a better person anymore.
Edward L. Bernays once wrote, “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”
This Bernays guy wasn’t just some hack observer of what was going on in society. Just like his uncle, Sigmund Freud, was the father of modern psychology, Bernays was the father of something, too. Propaganda. He single-handedly made the world believe that breakfast should consist of eggs and bacon, and he did so after being commissioned by a large packing company looking to improve the sales of their pork products. Bernays had his agency’s internal doctor write letters to 5,000 doctors asking them to confirm that a heavier breakfast of bacon and eggs is beneficial. Hence the term, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It isn’t a true statement, but we believe it is because somebody told us it was true. This same logic applies to the needing of material objects that serve no real purpose other than artificial stimulation. But, let’s face it, we are no longer wolves and we now require artificial stimulation. We have evolved away from nature. The Friday after Thanksgiving is something that seems to fill a void within our society’s craving to hunt and gather. We dream of a better life, and we march in droves to line up outside of buildings to quench this desire. It only came once a year for the common person of meager income/worth. What happens when this day of promise is stripped away? If you have to choose between spending Thanksgiving day with family, or shopping for special deals on products created to make your life easier? This year the stores open at 8pm giving you plenty of time to eat turkey and catch up with loved ones but what happens next year, if this new sales model is successful for all stores that participate? Others will follow to compete and, eventually, will be offering specials to piggyback any and all calendar days that we hold close with sentimental attachment. How do you choose?
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