#12: Black Friday

Your belly is pleasantly full from gravied meat and mashed potatoes. You sit at your family’s dining room table–the one you used to hide under as a kid–and look around the room at the generations of family members surrounding you. Now your nieces and nephews are the ones hiding under the table. Ah, the circle of life. As you take that last bite of pumpkin pie and push the plate away in mock surrender, you are completely and utterly content. This is Happiness. Could Thanksgiving get any better? YES! How about unbelievable shopping deals on Black Friday? These low, low prices only happen once a year, and you don’t want to miss out!

Or, another way to look at it, you should want to miss out. It’s Black Friday, now a notorious day that brings out the worst in society. Black Friday is the yearly manifestation of the chilling themes from Lord of the Flies: loss of innocence, dehumanization of relationships, the nature of evil–you can experience all of these by visiting a Walmart the day after Thanksgiving. They call it “Black Friday” because it’s the day many businesses “go in the black,” but the name also refers to the color your soul turns when you fight someone for a microwave. Trampling over people in order to get coveted store merchandise, played to hilarious effect by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad in the Christmas classic Jingle All the Way, now is commonplace in the real world. People have died over a toaster. You might really want that 40” HDTV for $198, but are you willing to kill for it? Ask yourself that, ‘cause others are and will. Those people are your competition.

And there are a lot of those people. You’re not the only one with the idea to camp out at 2am in front of the Best Buy. Hundreds of others have the same idea. Instead of sleeping in a warm bed, you’ll be circling a full parking lot, cursing yourself for not having gotten there at midnight. Then you’ll wait in line behind a guy who openly admits he’s going to re-sell the discounted items on eBay for a huge profit. He’s not buying an iPad for his little daughter. This is Daddy’s big payday. Then the doors will open, and like a herd of frightened cattle, the trampling will begin.

It’s ironic Black Friday falls the day after Thanksgiving, a day where everyone gives thanks for the blessings they already have. When that clock turns midnight, America goes from content to covetous. Put that precious Friday to better use. Honestly, when you’re on your deathbed, do you think you’re going to look back and remember the time you saved thirty dollars on a sweater? No. But you might remember that time you spent a day playing touch football with your cousin. Admittedly, you will save money on Black Friday, but you will also lose a day of your life. If you still want to get some fantastic prices without having to endure Black Friday, there’s this great thing–it’s called The Internet. The Internet has great deals all the time, and you can still keep your spleen intact.