“Black Friday: Consumerism Minus Civilization” is an essay written by Andrew Leonard. This Essay expresses Andrews disgust for the commercialized “holiday” of Black Friday. He acknowledges the fact that “vigorous sprees of retail spending” is essential for the economy. That with an “occupy Black Friday” or without a “robust Christmas shopping season” the economy could decline and more layoffs and pay cuts could result. He states, “But there’s also a point where healthy consumerism becomes out-of-control marketing-driven commodity fetishism.” Referring to the Black Friday tradition as insanity. Criticizing retail moguls such as Kohls and Target, saying that the Crazy Target Lady is scary, wrong, and a lunatic. The way the Crazy Target Lady is proud of her OCD – obsessive Christmas disorder – is the reason people are trample each other to death. He compares her to America saying, “She might be a lunatic, but it’s a culturally approve lunacy – the kind that keeps the American engine of capitalism all stoked up.” The fact that “the message that keeps getting blasted across the TV is that we should all be more like her – doing out patriotic duty.” He reflects on the “budding protest” against many retail chains to start their Black Friday sales at midnight on Thanksgiving. He talks about the many petitions in circulation protesting the earlier start of Black Friday sales like “Save Thanksgiving” and “Respect the Bird”. He refers to the constant one-upping of retailers as “dehumanizing and ridiculous”. He calls Black Friday shoppers “pre-programmed automations”. Which seems to be an appropriate name because we have allowed ourselves to become brainwasher by mindless jingles and commercials.
I have watched the Crazy Target Lady on commercials for the past several Black Friday shopping seasons. I laughed at her “exercises” to prepare for the “big fight” of shopping, but I never analyzed what the retailer was trying do. Which is try and get the public amped up for the shopping season. I hear on the news every year after Black Friday sells of customers and workers being hurt even killed. One story that really stuck with me was a guy was shot and killed in a California Toys R Us. He and another man were fighting over a toy, a toy, this man will never see his children again because he wanted to buy them a toy so badly he was willing to fight for it. I feel Mr. Leonard was very straight forwarded and said exactly as he felt which was a little hard to read at times but it needed to be said. When he was talking about “people getting a full nights rest before going shopping, even if it means missing a sale or two” and then ends the essay by stating “but you’ll be a better human being.” It made me compare Black Friday shopping to animals hunting in the wild for food. Animals hunt and fight for food for their survival so they don’t starve to death. Humans on the other hand hunt and fight for a $99.00 32” flat screen TV. It makes little sense to me. We have become such a backwards, materialistic nation that we camp out in front of Best Buy for weeks before Black Friday starts. I agree with Andrew that starting Black Friday sells at midnight Thanksgiving is laudable. He proposes the question, “what does a Target employee forced to go to work at 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving have to give thanks for?” I think we should all think about this question and really let it settle in. I believe we are such a divided nation finically. It seems that you either have money or you don’t. The people who have dispensable money are the ones who stand in line for hours even days to go shopping and the ones who don’t are the employees who are being forced to skip their Thanksgiving Day celebration and cater to the shoppers. And if that’s not bad enough the employees even take the risk of never returning home due to the insanity of the shoppers.