Black Friday: Capitalist Glory?

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE HOLIDAY THAT’S EATING AMERICA’S THANKSGIVING By Megan Jones || Black Friday seems like the epitome of capitalism in this country – retailers offering up great deals on a variety of coveted products and consumers coming out in droves to acquire these must-have goods (while simultaneously…


Megan Jones

By Megan Jones || Black Friday seems like the epitome of capitalism in this country – retailers offering up great deals on a variety of coveted products and consumers coming out in droves to acquire these must-have goods (while simultaneously spurring the economy).  What could possibly be more American than that?  Lately it even seems as though Black Friday is overshadowing the very holiday to which it is attached.

This year, retailers like Walmart and Target moved their Black Friday deals forward into Thanksgiving evening – meaning consumers could get down to the dirty work of elbowing others out of the way to score a $100 flatscreen before the tryptophan from their holiday meal even kicked in.

What are the economic and societal impacts of this cult shopping experience?  It seems the jury is still out on whether Black Friday actually boosts sales for retailers. Bloomberg reports: “Some industry analysts say that it shifts sales earlier in the season rather than increasing demand,” which would mean the whole thing is an overhyped wash. If consumers are going to spend essentially the same amount of money whether they buy during the Black Friday deals or later in the holiday shopping season, why the frenzy?

Real or imagined, the promise of unbeatable deals on electronics and home goods seems to drive some people past good, old fashioned consumerism and into the realm of pure insanity.  To see how the deal-seeking turns some people from civilized members of society into violent lunatics, one need look no further than this year’s Black Friday headlines – a door smashed in at an Urban Outfitters in Santa Monica, two people shot outside of a Tallahassee Walmart, a man who pulled a gun on a line-cutter at a Sears in Texas.

And what about the retailers who moved up their Black Friday hours as early as 5:00 p.m. on Thursday – forcing employees to cut short holiday time with their families?

Despite some resistance from employees and consumers, there was no substantial backlash caused by these new practices. Casey St. Clair, an employee of mega-retailer Target, started a petition in attempt to persuade her employer to “take the high road and save Thanksgiving.” Her petition asked supporters to send a message to the company’s CEO, Gregg W. Steinafel, that Target’s “9 pm opening disgusts me and symbolizes everything that is wrong with this country.”

St. Clair’s petition received more than 200,000 signatures – but Target stores across the country opened their doors for Black Friday sales at 9:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening anyway.

Meanwhile “Our Walmart” – an apparent subsidiary of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCWU) – organized an employee walkout to protest Walmart’s Black Friday hours. Although the organizers claimed that the event was a huge success, it would seem that it was lacking a crucial element: participation. Only about 50 employees nationwide took part in the walk-out.

One can only hope that some of the early shoppers had the decency to thank the employees in these stores for giving up their holiday to assist these gluttonous pursuits.

Ethical questions aside, where are America’s overzealous shoppers getting the funds necessary to purchase all of these … “necessities?” Considering that household debt has increased in two of the last three quarters, it’s safe to assume that many are putting their purchases on credit cards with the intention of actually paying the tab at a later date.  That’s the American way, after all (along with layaway – another “buy now, pay later” option that was prominently featured in this year’s Black Friday advertising push).

Then there’s the growing role America’s “Dependence Economy” plays in Black Friday.

With 5.2 million Americans currently collecting unemployment aid and more than 100 million Americans dependent on at least one form of government aid, one has to wonder how much of this economic stimulation is really just the recycling of tax dollars taken from the producers, given to the non-producers, then spent (and taxed) again so that the ugly cycle can repeat itself without any true growth.

Any way you look at it, debt is increasing – both household and national – although it’s clearly not increasing the size of the economy.  As usual, though, this day of mass consumption will be touted by many as a huge boost for jobs and the economy, even if it isn’t.

There are those who claim that Black Friday is simply a family tradition – on par with trimming a Christmas tree or spinning a dreidel.  However the glorification of a day spent pushing and shoving other people out of our way so we can save a few bucks on mostly Chinese-made products highlights the depths of materialistic depravity that we’ve fallen into as a society.

Would it honestly be so terrible to spend some time reading a book to your kids, or take a little while to listen to an elderly family member tell you stories about their childhood, or just watch some football with the people you care about the most?  Aren’t we supposed to stop and be thankful for friends and family during this holidays season?  Not plotting ways to dig ourselves deeper into debt on new gadgets we don’t really need?

Besides, the iPads and flat screens will still be there on Monday.


Megan Jones is a wife, mother, small business owner and libertarian. She lives with her family in coastal Florida.

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Smirks November 26, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Black Friday tends to be a bit of a hyped up crock. There’s good deals out there, but if you do your research, there are likely better sales at different times of the year depending on what you’re buying. Sure, you could camp out for two days in front of Best Buy to get that nice TV on sale, or you could wait until after the holidays when it is likely to be priced down again, perhaps at an even lower price just to get it off the shelves.

Aren’t we supposed to stop and be thankful for friends and family during this holidays season?

Of course we are, but the only way to do that is over Facebook via the iPad that we got for $50 off from Target.

A Humble Chef November 27, 2012 at 9:54 am

Cynical and accurate. Nailed it!

toyota kawaski November 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm

attention Megan!!!! SPF 95

Original Good Old Boy November 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I have never braved the traffic and participated in Black Friday. I have better things to do than sitting in a long line, waiting for a store to open, on my day off. But it’s a drug for some people. They get a “shopper’s high” I suppose. More power to them.

We can debate the pros and cons of having such a frenzied shopping period on Thanksgiving and the day after, but with so many people who apparently enjoy the madness, it is here to stay.

vicupstate November 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm

The only thing that is respected in this country anymore is money. Thus, Thankgsgiving will soon be just as important as Columbus Day. I hope at least the Thanksgiving Day workers are paid double time for working a holiday. .

SparkleCity November 27, 2012 at 11:10 am

I doubt most retail workers get double time since many are part time – but I could be wrong

I saw the documentary on ENRON the other night on DirecTV. I remember the scandal but to look at it through the spyglass of history REALLY shows how greed and just plain thinking you are a business god can fuck up a lot of people’s lives

I have personally observed the same mindset as a subscriber and stock holder in SiriusXM. I could spend 15 minutes ranting about how corporate greed and mega-personalities can fuck up a good thing.

Again, I 100% support capitalism and the free market but just like the BS with “Black Friday” if you have enough money and lawyers and accountants to back you up you can just about get away with anything.

Companies will mislead,lie and generally smokescreen to the max to keep their stock looking attractive and to hell with the truth and providing a superior service/good to the consumer as long as the “bean counters” can make it look good on paper.

It’s been proven and revealed time and time again but it keeps happening due to the chase of the almighty dollar and dishonest executives who inflate the numbers.

Just ask the thousands of laid off Enron employees who worked their asses off and then got screwed (to include losing their life savings and retirement plans) by Ken Lay who told them everything was in great shape and keep buying the stock even while he and his cohorts were unloading the shit as fast as they could.

Ken died before he was sent to prision (some say under suspecious circumstances and some even think he was bailed out by the Bush family and is still alive). His cohorts are serving time in “Country-Club” minimum security prisions.

Yep, blindless crazy consumerism run amok is a stupid thing to observe but if you pull back then everyone gets a case of hemerroids over that.

I don’t participate in that “Black Friday” shit at all.

It’s a bunch of BS.

BigT November 26, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Not really sure that you’re saying anything, other than mere conversation. What point are you making…and what does it matter?

This is something that may fit in Ladies Home Journal, if you could add some bite to it. But FITS (at least) markets this as a political website.

That said: You’re not insulting anyone, or trying to peek into their bedroom (like FITS)…other than that: it is much the same type self-only intrest fare FITS offers…

Remember: Many people WANT to write…but most real WRITERS are born…

One other thing: Writing is the EASY part…thinking is what can seperate you from the wannabes, like FITS…

SparkleCity November 27, 2012 at 10:47 am


I guess you have a point in a kinda/sorta way……

But as far as writing a coherent paragraph that involves structured thought:

That leaves YOU out completely.

Popcorn Sutton November 26, 2012 at 6:11 pm


? November 26, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Nothing says *American Christmas* more than buying shit you do not need with a credit card from a bailed out bank that adds to the trade deficit with China.

Tis the season!

Jesus would be proud.

Honors College Dude November 26, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Ebeneezer Scrooge was correct. Christmas is nothing more than a commercial festival.

if you can understand this, you may gain some hope November 27, 2012 at 8:42 am

people who have turned capitalism into a religion are clueless zealots. the most redundant and overworn argument by womanbeater will has always been one of religious zealotry in regards to “fiscal conservatism.” in fact the concept is wrapped in the zealotry of western religion and western concepts of christianity. in this ideology, there is no concern or even an awarness of the concept of natural balance. instead, the awareness of the reconciliation of apparent opposites is never even considered, as the viewpoint is lost amongst the delusion that apparent opposites are in fact opposite (in nature.) in fact they are only differnt in degree, but same in nature. this brings me back to capitalism as a religion. the true flaw in this view is that resources are infinite, therefore a natural balance is unnecessary. you can see this exact same idea expressed in the satanic leaders of early “christianity” in their view that “mother earth” is to be raped, conquered, dominated, and used up completely for the economic bounty that it can be converted into. that was all fine and dandy when the earth wasnt highly populated and the resources were vast and nature was relatively untapped. the simple fact is that there is a finite limit of resources. people who believe that capitalism is a system of unlimited resources have hijacked all industries and economic systems. their morality and sense of justice have been also corrupted by their ignorant greed. in fact, their moral sense was always compromised because they replaced a conception of natural balance with that of a justification for all consuming greed. in the end, and they dont even know it, they have fallen into the devil’s pit. since we know the devil as a picture of the greek god pan, the goat-man, the satyr, it is instructional to undertstand what that means. the devil as represented by pan is the anthropomorphized concept of material existence. now capitalism and communism are no different if you understand the concept of reconciliation of opposites. they are in fact of the exact same nature, MATERIALISM. they are only different by the degree that their nature is manifested, but they are the SAME in terms of their nature. that has been the trick of the 20th century, the cold war, the rise falls of both the USA and USSR, and now china: basing the predominant conception of existence through a MATERIALST focus. ultimately, if all you understand and conceive of is based totally on the “reality” as limited by the 5 senses, you will be locked down by your lower nature, lower vibrational rates, and you will probably get tricked into worshipping the material world as the ulimate reality. that’s the real meaning of selling your soul to the devil. its nothing more than locking your total potential in a box or mental prison. thats why womanbeater will pimps fake concepts like “fiscal conservatism” where the be all and end all is based on a material conception, reality as defined by money. LOL also, its why he uses his site as a porn site for his cultists, pimping pop stars and even creating his own local pop slut sensations like kathryn dennis and kelly payne- who are both certainly clients. and when that isnt enough he tries to turn local lawyers into local popsluts for his site. the whole purpose, as is the purpose of the media hyping and building a frenzy over black friday, is to keep you locked down, mentally asleep, and trapped in the false reality of the materia world. and dont believe me, just read ALL esoteric understandings of ALL religions and moral philosophies, both of ancvient wisdom and of modern. they all say the same thing. of course people who dont understand the occult meanings are lost in the literal and exoteric, which are nothing more than a mental and spiritual jail which is the MATERIAL world.

A Humble Chef November 27, 2012 at 9:52 am

Who just wasted 20 minutes? That guy. ^^^^

BigT November 27, 2012 at 10:06 am

Liberalism is the most-dangerous religion in America…

Capitalism is voluntary. With Obama and the media, Liberalism is a FORCED religion…

We should ALL fear it…..

? November 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm

LMAO @ Humble Chef!

Judy Chop November 28, 2012 at 10:06 pm

So hard to type while looking in a mirror, so that you can see your hands that are tied behind your back in a coat that also buckles from the back. Just couldn’t reach the shift/caps key but one time.

Gotta give this dude ^^^^ some credit on banging this out before the 11:00pm meds were administered.


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