Black Friday: America at Its Worst, and Why the 47% Need to Reconsider Their Priorities

Black Friday, is, for lack of a better word, puke-worthy. On Black Friday, some 147 million Americans (which, given our nation's current population of 311 million, results in the fine figure of 47%) will return to their Lord of the Flies state of nature and put rules, morals, and common courtesies aside for the sake of conspicuous consumption.

And that is conspicuously disgusting.

Let's delve a bit further into this concept:

Say you want to acquire a pair of pants that you've been pining for throughout autumn. You think they will be sold for some 50% off their $60 retail price only at this one Walmart store, for this one day. You
decide that it is worth it to depart the coziness of your heated home at, say, 11:30pm on Thanksgiving, to drive to said Walmart store, and arrive there by 11:45pm, with tons of turkey combined with red wine, beer, and tryptophan in your belly. Despite repeated thoughts that this is not what you should be doing at this hour, you press forward for the sake of those heavily discounted trousers.

By the time you've found parking with your other commercial hedonists, and then plant yourself  at the end of the line at this big box store, you learn that others in the line have camped out since Wednesday at dinner time: You are merely shopper number 761. You, along with your screaming kid/wife/grandma, whom you brought along for the ride, now have some six plus hours to kill.

You brought some hot cocoa along, to prep for the cold, but that's now lukewarm, and it gets finished in an instant.  And that iPad you're carrying to catch up on some reading? That won't be happening tonight, because you're stuck in line behind a bunch of clowns who brought a boombox to blast Evanescence, Nickelback, and gangsta rap on repeat, sounds that you've only previously heard in tandem during nightmares.

Now, your kid/wife/grandma has to go to the bathroom. And rightfully so, after previously consuming some 4,000 calories during your Thanksgiving feast. But, alas, there is no bathroom in an empty
parking lot at two in the morning. So you are forced to beg for mercy from the women who wait in your rear, aka Miss Friday 762 and Miss Friday 763, so that they will spare your position while you venture to the local 24-hour mini mart to have your kid/wife/grandma use the facilities.

Upon your return, you are heckled for being a line jumper, as none of the tardy latecomers who arrived after 2am you that you really left the line so that your kid/wife/grandma could relieve herself.

At this moment, you realize that waiting in line for two hours at Six Flags to be rewarded with a two minute roller coaster ride would be a treat.

You think about how pathetic you are. You think about starving people in Africa. You think about newly homeless Hurricane Sandy victims. You think about how you, along with your shopping companions,are willing to spend some seven hours in line before the store opens at 6:30am.
Minutes seems like hours, hours seem like days. The wails of crying children are endless.

You contemplate the meaning of life and realize that it is not inside that Walmat store. You look around at the people around you think, "Hey, these people have horrible values." You realize that Walmart may
not have your size and color combo anyway. Your thoughts drift to Cyber Monday, because you know that the world's best bargain-hunters go to the world's largest store, the Internet, to shop.

A local NBC camera crew arrives, setting up shop by panning across the line, validating the absurdity before you. You acknowledge that this process is lame, boring, and most certainly not worth your time. So you decide to save face by not being one of the bozos who waits in out in the cold. You tell your kid/wife/grandma that everything will be okay, even if you have to wear the same pants for another couple of years, and perhaps the two of you can go to a special spot to watch the sunrise together. Your kid/wife/grandma sheepishly admits that she was thinking the same thing, and you leave this bizarro world of the 47% behind you.

You now know that you learned from this horrid Black Friday experience what is actually important in your life, and that the best things in life are most certainly free, because this silly materialistic culture
that surrounds you in this Walmart parking lot at 4am on Black Friday brings nothing but anxiety, grief, and madness.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Stephen Robert Morse

Stephen Robert Morse is the co-founder and Head of Marketing at SkillBridge. He previously worked in brand positioning, creative, outreach within the marketing teams at Quirky.com, Seamless.com, and Lightbox.com (acquired by Facebook). Formerly a professional journalist, Morse has written for Fast Company, Mother Jones, The Week, The Atlantic, Mic, The Boston Globe, and The Huffington Post. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

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