The Christmas shopping season is underway, marked, or marred if you will, by the ugliness that is Black Friday in the U.S.
Already, the Inter-web is atwitter with news and video clips from the choice fights at this year’s shopping event. The brawls – punctuated by the occasional shooting/stabbing – over everything from flat-screen TVs to vegetable steamers – have become part and parcel of the Black Friday consumer frenzy. According to the website blackfridaydeathcount.com (yes, it exists), seven people have been killed and 28 injured between 2010 and 2014 in relation to Black Friday – so named as it’s the day U.S. retailers start to see financial gains – going from red into black.
Canadian retailers have generally been unable to emulate the madness of Black Friday. Even in the U.S., retailers are said to be moving away from the one-day sales event model due to related costs for things like security and additional staffing.
While it’s easy to become angry/frustrated/disappointed when watching a Black Friday video in which grown adults are fighting over something as mundane as a vegetable steamer or waffle iron, regardless of how deeply discounted the item may be, it’s important to remember these incidents do not serve as generalizations defining who or what we are (as Canadians or Americans) or have become. For many, Black Friday is the domain of an alien culture, an ephemeral distraction from the many more rewarding and/or important things to do and be involved in at this time of year in our own communities. School Christmas concerts, drives to support local food banks and shelters, spending time with the family and friends – these are the events that matter. Cursing under your breath at the wait ahead before it’s your turn at the cashier – not so much.