Now that Halloween is over Thanksgiving is right down the road; this also means that the rabid dog of Black Friday is heading our way! Every year I am astonished by what happens at this time! One Black Friday, in a Sam’s Club, a woman was caught trying to leave the store with frozen lobster tails stuffed into her pants! In a Walmart the crowd plowed in when the doors were opened and a woman who had her list and pen in hand was bowled over, trampled, with the pen pushed into her neck, barely missing her jugular vein! Even though there was blood everywhere people literally climbed over her to continue on their way to pillage! In an electronics store a young teen found a radio that he wanted and picked it up when, seemingly out of nowhere, a lavender-haired grandma appeared, punched him in the face, stunning him, snatched the radio out of his hands and ran off with it! Another mother endured a Thanksgiving night Black Friday battle to get a heavily-discounted Cabbage Patch doll for her baby girl, coming home with scratches on her face as well as missing a chunk of hair! The little girl was ecstatic and the next day insisted they take the doll with them when they set off for more shopping. The little girl put the doll in the baby seat of the shopping cart and when the mother went one aisle over to get something some woman walked up to the cart, snatched the doll and ran off, leaving the distraught little girl howling.
Seeing the horrible behavior every year manifested on Black Friday by seemingly responsible and moral adults… who, for the most part, don’t manifest such barbaric behavior the rest of the year… always leaves me wondering, “Why do adults do such bad things?” The most simplistic answer would be… because they can. The most accurate answer is… because they are not grown up, they are simply “taller” children. Part of childhood is manifesting and growing out of immature behaviors, such as biting others, and impulsiveness. Most adults outgrow biting, but aided and abetted by our consumer culture many do not outgrow impulsiveness. The problem with indulging in impulsiveness is that the rewards for such behavior are almost immediate, and therein addicting, even when the next day’s dawn may see us returning the former object of our desire. Impulsiveness is as addicting as taking that first hit of meth: having tried it, you’re hooked, and long-term consequences be damned! Our culture, like any good drug-dealer, fosters our impulsive purchases by inculcating in us the assumption that we need “things”, that buying “things” will make us happy, and that the pursuit of “things” allows for any behavior that gets us to our goal. In fact, there is even a bumper-sticker which states: “He who dies with the most toys… wins!”
The fact is that when we die we don’t get to take any of the toys with us! Others either get them or take them! The unbridled blood-lust manifested on and fostered by Black Friday sales is adolescent, goal-oriented behavior run amuck! My theory is that Black Friday sales are Cultural Meth, and my approach to Black Friday shopping is the same as in dealing with real meth: Not even once!