I don't get Black Friday. I could object to it on moral grounds, I suppose, and post an easy rant on consumerism run amok.
But primarily, I don't understand what motivates people to be part of it.
And it occurred to me today that perhaps the better thing to do, rather than wag my finger, is simply to ask: If you go to stores on Black Friday, why? What's the appeal? What do you get out of it?
Is it the very competitive nature of the shopping itself that appeals? Because you know you're being taken advantage of by the stores, right?
Or maybe "taken advantage of" is unfair; they're making money today. You're not beating the house at its own game.
But leaving any question of morality out of it, from a strictly monetary point of view, it doesn't make sense to shop today. There are better times to shop for bargains.
On the other side of the equation, I'd like to have a private chat with us moralists for a moment. Again, why? Why do we do this?
Every year we have a little chat with people about the terribleness of Black Friday. I suspect it makes us feel good about ourselves. But you could not pay me to go to one of the big box stores today, much less get up at 4 in the morning to do so.
So how moral am I, really? It's not like I'm not going to shop this holiday season. It's just that I'm mostly going to do it from the comfort of my desk, online, having others do the work of shlepping things to my door.
What do we get out of our little lectures? Do they do anything? How can we actually help?
Do we need to quit talking about it as a moral issue and talk about it as a monetary one? Or do we need to stop and listen first? Or do we need to change ourselves? I genuinely want to know, because I hate seeing this play out year after year.
e.g.: Washington Post article: Wal-Mart union protests fail to deter bargain-seeking crowds on Black Friday