DAILY GRINDER: Death, Taxes and Shopping: Black Friday Craziness
It’s likely you’re not reading this blog, because you’ve been waiting outside Target since 4 a.m. and—also very likely—stampeded over at least one senior citizen to get in the store, murdering him. Hey, he can wait, but those Q-tips in aisle 8 can’t! We’re just kidding, of course; Target’s actually been open since midnight.
Nevertheless, the Internet is abuzz with Black Friday shenanigans: What effect will the economy have? What’s the hot Christmas toy? Who will die? How is Obama to blame?
But not all you know about Black Friday is true. Yes, it was started in Philadelphia in 1966 (hey, wait a minute, you didn’t know that!) and coined by Philadelphia police officers who just didn’t know what to do with those massive traffic (calling the day “Black,” not saying profits are “in the black.”) And there, the legend was born.
And it is a legend. Sort of only. According to the only website on the Internet known for Truth, Cracked.com, Black Friday hasn’t classically been the most shoppingest day of the year. In fact, before online shopping became a thing, it was usually the fifth-largest shopping day. The media made up the stigma because it’s generally a slow news day, and shit, us click-whores gotta work!
Oh, and think people really are set to die today? Think again! (Or, don’t.) To be honest, people probably will die shopping later today, but why should Black Friday be any different from the month leading up to, say, your birthday? Or New Year’s? Americans are Americans. We’re prone to toss each out windows so our kid can get the latest Power Ranger over your kid. People die in stores across the country, all the time. It’s reported on Black Friday more often because it’s Black Friday, because Americans go shopping that day, like everyday, and it’s a slow news day—murder gets the clicks!
But this black Friday could still be a little different.
For instance, a survey released by Accenture (which is our favorite survey company, besides all the others) says only 44 percent of Americans plan to shop on Black Friday. Forty-four!
That’s compared to 52 percent in 2009 and 47 percent in 2010. As the economy lags, so does our purchasing of electronic pianos that will never be used and DVDs of yesterday’s box office letdowns that will never be watched. Won’t someone please think of the good people at Best Buy?
Nevertheless, here’s what else happening, today:
Amazon is selling Smart Phones for a penny! They include the Samsung Stratosphere, the Blackberry Torch 4G 9810 and some others that aren’t the iPhone.
Living Social, some company that’s sort of like Groupon, which is sort of stupid because who goes to those restaurants anyway, is going nuts in its re-introduction to the world! It’s apparently got a ton of discounts for the discounters among us, from magazine subscriptions to wine.
And so on.
The Occupy Movement across the U.S. has called for occupying stores and/or not buying at large corporations. To that, some “Anti-Occupy Wall Street” groups (yep, they’re real and they’re spectacular) are challenging the move in similar statements to something I’ve been writing here about for a while.
“At a time when our economy is most fragile and ratings agencies are talking about another downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, it’s completely irresponsible for Occupy Wall Street to attempt to bring the U.S. economy to a halt on the busiest shopping day of the year,” Liberate organizer and a spokesman for the Tea Party, John Sullivan, stated in a press release.
As nice as that sounds, Tea Party groups have basically called for the exact same thing, if not worse. But the “Occupy is anti-free market” storyline works for Black Friday, because the media is bored, so have at it!