Holiday or horror? Bizarre Black Friday

So today was Black Friday, which I’ve been hearing about from stores and advertisers that this is a big event, it’s almost become like a new holiday, but it still seems very strange to me.
The idea of Black Friday is it’s the day after American Thanksgiving, which is the fourth Thursday in November.
And I’m in Canada, where we celebrate our Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October, so this American Thanksgiving is not part of my culture growing up, but because North America is so tightly linked, this American tradition has spread to Canada.
So the idea is that after Thanksgiving is the time to begin the Christmas shopping season, and so this will be kicked off with a grand day of sales in which everybody can celebrate shopping.
But I have to say, I still don’t- there’s just something strange about this in particular.
Now, I know, of course, I don’t need to go over how, you know, Christmas is commercialized, and it’s all about shopping.
That’s always been part of what I’m used to.
But this particular holiday I just can’t get my head around.
When I first heard about Black Friday, I thought it was referring to some kind of disaster.
Because if you look at Black Weekday Name, it refers to some horrible event, such as stock market crashes, Black Tuesday, Black Thursday, Black Monday in the 80s.
Apparently in 1360 – I just looked this up now – in 1360, during the Hundred Years’ War, there was a freak hailstorm that killed a thousand English soldiers, and they called it Black Monday.
But now we have Black Friday.
So wait.
And then I hear it’s about shopping.
Okay, so that must be because of the stampedes of shoppers, people were dying in the stampedes of shoppers.
Because I have heard of that.
I’ve seen video of masses outside a store, and the moment they unlock the doors, there is a literal stampede of humans attempting to enter the store and grab discounted items as quickly as possible.
So then I learned that, no, Black Friday, it’s called Black Friday because this is the day when retailers first go into the black, when they first become profitable.
So they’re running in the red, in debt, for the rest of the year, and then, finally, here at the beginning of the Christmas season, they can become profitable.
So it’s a celebration of retailers becoming profitable.
Which I just learned today that, well, really it did start by talking about terrible traffic on this day, and then later somehow came to be this accounting redefinition of the term.
But I’m really just puzzled by what’s going on, because this is a term that is a term of disaster, a term of a dark, terrible day, and it’s being applied to a day to go shopping.
And it’s almost like it’s almost self-conscious.
It’s almost like what does it say about the culture, the situation, where a term like this can become the term for a sale day? It’s almost like it has the hints in it knowing that it will itself- that there’s something off about it.
It’s like it almost carries a hint that it knows there’s something off about it.
And I heard some- there are some tentative indications that, in recent years, possibly the frenzy of Black Friday may be lessening.
People may be turning against it.
And just anecdotally, I went to buy some groceries this morning, and the the folks at the grocery store were laughing about how they were told to expect crowds at the door early in the morning, to buy TVs from a grocery store, and they were laughing that this was a joke, because nobody showed up.
And there seem to be some numbers suggesting that maybe people aren’t as excited about this.
So I don’t want to read too much into these scattered signs, but I just get the feeling that there’s something about this day that it kind of almost knows it’s crazy.
It knows that there’s something off.
And as much as it’s a celebration of buying unnecessary extra stuff, I am starting to see it as a day to celebrate getting over that, a day to celebrate not buying unnecessary things, a day to look at what I have and be quite satisfied.
Except food.
I did go shopping for food.
That’s one thing that I will always keep needing more of.
But in terms of my stuff, I am taking this day to be happy with my existing, currently possessed stuff.
And I know I’m not the only one, and I’m thinking maybe, in future years, Black Friday can become a day to symbolize, to represent, moving away from this unnecessary buying.
Because in the name itself, it’s almost like it’s a joke.
It’s a parody of itself.
It is making fun of itself.
Hey guys, let’s have a sale.
It’s going to be quite a disaster.

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