USAmericans pride themselves on planning ahead. That’s why they start Christmas shopping the day after Halloween.
Shopping, of course, is one of our inalienable rights, guaranteed by the Constitution along with the right to pack more horsepower, firepower, and body mass per capita than any other nation on earth.
We celebrate these liberties on “Black Friday,” the symbolic day that store balance sheets turn from red ink (losing money) to black ink (finding money). This is the day when credit-driven consumer spending on cheap imported goods kicks into overdrive. It’s also the day that Americans fulfill their overdue last New Year’s resolution to “get more exercise” by running through shopping malls like bulls in the streets of Pamplona.
Black Friday festivities used to start the morning after Thanksgiving, but retailers now open their stores during the Thursday evening feast to entice well-fed consumers who need an excuse to escape from naughty kids and dirty dishes (Click here for more).
As with much of daily life in the USA, Black Friday can be quite competitive. People can be trampled as throngs of coupon-clutching customers crush through well-stocked aisles in the annual hunt for bargains. Fights and smackdowns go viral as kids hunker down in shopping carts to live stream video of their loving parents wrestling puppy robots and Goo Goo Galaxy dolls away from raging strangers.
Taking a cue from the popular sport of cage fighting, many vendors lock consumers inside stores to battle with spray cans and toasters until only the worthiest shoppers cross the checkout stations.
Traditionally the realm of brick and mortar stores, online retailers are now offering their own version of Black Friday mayhem. For shoppers who prefer the internet but don’t want to miss the thrill of the strip mall, “Cyber Monday” offers the excitement of identity theft, credit card fraud, and a variety of wild phone scams from the comfort of home.
President Calvin Coolidge, not one to mincemeat or words, once declared, “…the chief business of the American people is business.” Roll over, Calvin! The American economy is now open 24/7 for full-contact commerce.
So, if you’re in the States this Thanksgiving and looking for an excuse to abandon your annoying relatives, just say, “Black Friday.” Those who venture out early can enjoy the added thrill of demolition derbies in parking lots. If you camp overnight, you can combat the cold by playing popular games like “Guess Who’s Carrying a Concealed Weapon” and “America’s Got Bullets.”
God bless America, land of the free-for-all.