The thundering sound of barbaric screams, the rumbling trembles of a thousand footsteps shaking the floor, all mixed in with the putrid odor of bodily sweat and the faintest traces of pepper spray. This isn’t a depiction of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots or the aftermath of a Vancouver hockey game—it’s Wal Mart on November 25, 2011. Every Friday after Thanksgiving, when most Americans are done enjoying a nice family meal, an eerie change begins to electrify the night. Some say it’s similar to a werewolf catching its first glance of the full moon. Others compare it Dr. Jekyll drinking his first freeing sip of potion. The only proper explanation we have for this lapse in sanity though is the lure of a sale. After the month of October, it seems to me that every possible form of media turns their attention to Black Friday. We watch news broadcasts giving us current updates and statistics from various stores, in between those broadcasts we watch seemingly relentless commercials advertising every possible product, our e-mails get spammed with hundreds of Amazon deals, and the side of almost every website we visit mentions some type of Black Friday special.
Despite my not-so-subtle feelings of resentment towards such a “holiday”, I too enjoy a good sale that saves me some money. While I do appreciate a simple sale, watching the events of this year’s Black Friday seemed to put a lot in perspective for me. People seemed to regress into their most primitive states when they were given the opportunity to purchase in excess at a cheaper price. The news was filled with stories of shoppers clawing at each other, women pepper spraying their neighbors to get their hands on an XBOX, and a vicious crowd of customers carelessly walking past the corpse of a man who had a heart attack in a store. During a time when our nation and even most of the world is dealing with problems of unprecedented magnitudes, we spend our month advertising and preparing for a day of complete overindulgence. Individuals are getting tear gassed and beaten for camping out and vocalizing their opinions, but the model consumer can occupy their local stores for days on end as long as they are pumping money out of their pockets. We can’t seem to get more than 50% of country to head out to voting booths one day of the year, but we can be sure that they’ll be at Best Buy at 3 a.m. in order to purchase the 52” plasma television. Like I said, I really do not mind a good sale, but I do believe that our country needs a little time to put its priorities in order.