Guess they couldn't wait until the door opened.
Back in the 80’s, when Black Friday rolled around, my mom would rise before dawn, put on one of her festive Christmas sweaters and make the twenty minute drive to JC Penney, which opened its doors at 5am. As the manager of the cosmetics department, my mom bravely stood at her post, armed and ready with perfumes and gift sets. Penney’s always promoted some sort of give-away for its early bird shoppers. I remember, even then, thinking people were crazy to get up so early just to snag themselves a small, cheap, plastic holiday snow globe. It’s not like these things were collectibles. Nevertheless, there they were, lined up at the door, waiting to claim their reward for getting up so early.
Some years ago, K-Mart, I think it was, got a jump-start on Christmas and thought it would be a good idea to open on Thanksgiving. I guess this pre-Black Friday tactic worked because this year, a bevy of major retailers opened their doors either on Thanksgiving, or at midnight, instead of the more traditional 5am.
So, what drives some people to forgo a good night’s sleep in order to get to Macy’s by midnight, Toys r Us by 3am, or pepper spray their fellow shoppers at Wal-Mart just so they can procure an X-Box on sale? Perhaps it’s the same thing that drives the retailers and mucky mucks on Wall Street.
Some of the Black Friday incidents of late reminded of those women I observed pillaging Target the day the Missoni line was released. Like rabid, starving animals, these women blindly grabbed armfuls of whatever they could get their paws on. Within twenty minutes, the racks were picked clean, save for a couple of less desirable items, which were left for the meek and weak. It mattered not that these frocks were cheap, flimsy, and manufactured-for-the-masses-who-can’t-afford-the-high-end-stuff. It still bore the Missoni name. They just had to have it and they weren’t going to share.
Do we really need three 65” flat screens for one household? Does every kid have to have an X-Box, PS3, Nintendo DS and a Wii? Does a ten year-old really need an iPhone? Is that cashmere scarf, those fluffy slippers, or that last Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 DVD really worth fighting for? Is it necessary to bully our way to the front of the line, or aggressively steer our carts through crowds of shoppers just to score the best deal? Since when did we become so uncivilized? When did it become acceptable to forgo civility and consideration, during what is generally known as the season of peace on earth and goodwill toward men? What’s happened to us?
It’s understandable that in this economic climate, we’re all desperately clamoring for the absolute best holiday deal. I know we want to give our families the best possible holiday despite having less money to work with, but at what cost?
By behaving badly at the mall and vying aggressively for that X-Box, are we not teaching our children it’s okay to bully others to get what you want? In our efforts to keep up with the Kardashian's by stockpiling computers and televisions and iPods and designer clothes and other luxury items, are we not teaching our children to place more value on material goods over say, family and friends?
It’s something to think about, isn't it?