Someone asked me what the term “Black Friday” meant. Well my understanding is that it means businesses would like to end the year in the “black” as opposed to being in the “red” financially. So they have a big sale.
Of course if you watch footage from around the country of shoppers on “Black Friday” (now also known as “Black Thursday”), one might suppose that it got its name from being “black and blue” after all the pushing and shoving associated with this phenomenon. Fights break out and people, who otherwise would not even curse at Congress, will get into knock down-dragouts over a deep fryer or a big screen television.
I realize some people see this as a challenge. They want to be the first through the door. For some it’s purely entertainment, much like professional wrestling. Except on “Black Friday” the body slams are for real.
After watching footage year after year of these antics and after a shopping fight broke out here in my own hometown last Thanksgiving and made national news, I’m thinking that people were not this rowdy leaving the Titanic. And they had a lot more at stake.
I have never been a part of the “Black Friday” melee. The older I get, the less I like crowds. I’m a die-hard Atlanta Falcons fan, but it’s been many years since I’ve actually been to a game. I would rather watch it on television and avoid the crowd hassle.
Heck, a family reunion is a bit large for me anymore.
You see there is this thing called “crowd mentality.” It’s also known as “mob mentality.” People have actually been killed at soccer matches in Europe via “mob mentality.” It’s like the bigger the crowd, the less the brain. Keep in mind that it was a “mob mentality” that resulted in the crucifixion of Jesus. Ironically, I’ve had a few instances where someone tried to crucify me from a quiet, behind-the-scenes maneuvering.
I think sometimes that the “Black Friday” thing is becoming more defining of Thanksgiving than was the original intent. And maybe it’s a natural progression because it’s difficult for us to really appreciate what those Pilgrims endured during that first Thanksgiving. Years of progress have greatly removed us from such hardships. We watch football in centrally heated homes. We have ample food sources, myriad choices of condiments and no fear of a sneak attack from the natives while we are in a turkey induced coma that afternoon. We have indoor plumbing, plenty of toilet paper and 900 cable channels to watch.
Now I realize that “Black Friday” is a subset of our capitalistic system. And I’m a believer of capitalism as opposed to communism, even though the New Testament scriptures speak more toward a communistic ideology than most of us Southern Baptists would like to admit.
For the merchant, “Black Friday” is about volume sales. Move a lot of product at a lower price. That concept is applied in about every aspect of our capitalistic society except when it comes to oil and medicine. Go figure. As for those Pilgrims, these were not issues. They just walked and died.
So I choose to pay regular price and not risk having to call upon my group insurance to have bones set and wounds stitched. I feel like that philosophy also aids our capitalistic approach. Don’t get me wrong, I like a bargain. I just want to make sure that my shopping experience doesn’t require self defense lessons and football pads.
Meanwhile I am taking a moment to reflect on those hardships endured by our forefathers in this regard and to appreciate from whence we came. And I’m truly thankful that the Pilgrims didn’t serve frog legs and chitluns as a main course on that first Thanksgiving.
Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org