There’s a moment that signals the start of the Christmas holidays. For me, it used to be the first time a street kid would hijack a jeepney, start half-heartedly singing Pasko na Naman and asking for money at the end of one measly verse. Now it’s Black Friday, a day when stores slash their prices to encourages people to jumpstart Christmas shopping. Say what you will about the evils of consumerism, but the discounts on Black Friday are insane. I’m talking significant markdowns on electronics, clothing, appliances, lugggage, tools, seasonal items and various other things that department stores carry.
Black Friday is traditionally held in November, the day after Thanksgiving. So after one day of giving thanks, communing with family and gorging on turkey and taters, everyone risks their lives in a giant stampede for a 65 inch TV in 4K resolution because human lives mean nothing in the face of a gorgeous new flat screen, especially when said flat screen comes at half price. Dignity? What dignity? Score!
Back when the Canadian dollar was at par with the US, crossing the border to take advantage of Black Friday made all sorts of sense. Then the savvier retailers decided to mirror the American tradition in an attempt to keep us (and our money) on this side of the train tracks. So we get the best of both worlds: two days out of a year to go nuts over discounts – the day after American Thanksgiving, and the day after Christmas.
I’ve never really crossed the border on a Black Friday. I feel like I should, just so I can prep a bag of popcorn and watch all the elbows flying and the hair pulling drama. This is what happens when you slash prices; people get greedy. Not even your grandma would be safe on a Black Friday; the horror stories are legion. People getting trampled in the opening rush, women coming to blows over a toaster, grown men grabbing Xbox Ones from the hands of children, desperate souls opting to relieve themselves in line rather than lose their place in the queue by going to the wash room, people losing their minds over deals, shrieking “Grab the thing! Hurry up and grab the thing!”over the din of everyone else trying to grab the same thing, knives in the parking lot, it’s glorious. A friend’s sister once had a woman mistake the cart she was pushing for her own, which resulted in a tug-of-war that ended only when her husband came to the rescue. It’s like musical chairs, except the players are savages.
In my head, it looks like this:
The reality really isn’t that different:
Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in in October, and our super sale day happens the day after Christmas. It’s called Boxing Day. No it doesn’t stand for people punching each other’s lights out over a discounted Playstation 4, much to your disappointment. It’s a British tradition, from when people received “Christmas Boxes” from their employers. I’ve seen my share of Boxing Days and I’ve yet to see a stampede. Boring. Sometimes the Canadian reputation for being nice is a bit too well-deserved. Like Black Friday, massive discounts abound so everyone turns out because it’s really hard to resist all those nice, juicy price reductions.
It’s called Black Friday because it’s a day when the customers all pour in to take advantage of discounts and shopkeepers find themselves out of the red and “in the black.” Personally, I think it’s called Black Friday because we get to witness how black the souls of rabid consumers really are.
Oh who am I kidding, you all know I’d be right there in the thick of it, grabbing whatever I could lay my hands on. I’m short, so I would likely go all stealth ninja mode and stuff. Just duck under someone’s outstretched arm, snatch whatever and run like hell for the nearest check out counter, laughing like a maniac.
So I’ve been mentally prepping a list of stuff to get, because anyone who always pays retail rates is a sucker. But now I’m so tired of looking I’ve actually given up because at the end of the day it’s just another thing to own and really, I take more pleasure in knowing I can own something than actually owning the thing. But who knows, I could give in to hysteria and go crazy tomorrow so watch this space because I just might come staggering in under the weight of a gazillion shopping bags, my wallet light, but my heart full of happiness.