Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Black Friday

So, why do they call it "Black Friday" anyway? I'm talking, of course, about the day after Thanksgiving, which is supposedly the biggest shopping day in the world.

According to the website livescience.com, the phrase "Black Friday" was coined in 1869 to describe what happened "when several financiers tried to corner the gold market and the market crashed, and a depression ensued." Oh, happy day. (Not.) There have been other black days in the stock market, all leading to real down days financially speaking. I fail to see how borrowing this term to describe a shopping day at the mall is anything but truly twisted.

Trust me, I know that in accounting, being in the black is a good thing. Means you have more money than you're spending. And the stores at the mall want to be in the black. Of course they do. I'm sure they'd like to be there way before the end of November. Are they really that behind in their finances so late in the year? That's a scary thought.

But here's why I think we use the phrase Black Friday to describe the shopping day after Thanksgiving. It's because it is a black, black day indeed when so many Americans completely lose their minds like they do on this shopping day. I don't care how much money you save. When you're camped out in front of a Big Box Store at 2 AM, just hours after you're supposed to be celebrating family and blessings, in order to save $50 on a DVD player, you have a serious problem. When you'll trample other people to make sure you have a chance to get 5 CDs for $5, you're sick. And when someone dies in the stampede, but you just go on shopping anyway, you've lost your mind. Sorry. You have totally lost your mind.

So this Thanksgiving, if you see me wearing black, please know that I'm simply in mourning for the loss of America's self-respect, love for others, and financial responsibility... I mean, I'll be celebrating the American holiday season. Same difference, isn't it?

Sigh.

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