Today’s newspapers, like last Saturday’s, brought news of a gruesome death: a Wal-Mart employee on Long Island was fatally trampled by shoppers when opening the store yesterday morning.
Yesterday was Black Friday, when we’re all supposed to go out and buy stuff. And I missed it.
As near as I can tell, we started calling the day after Thanksgiving ‘Black Friday’ about ten years ago. Before that, it was simply a day that most of us had off from work, possibly given over to shopping, but mostly for hanging with one’s relatives, rest, and recovery from excess turkey ingestion.
But somehow it became all about the shopping. And since no marketing phenomenon is complete without a catchy name, we called it ‘Black Friday,’ in a paroxysm of political correctness, in which the color ‘black’ is divorced from its usual sense in Western culture of death and destruction.
Of course I looked over the deals that were in Thursday’s papers: each newspaper came with an advertising supplement bigger than the newspaper itself. But there was nothing that I really wanted. As far as big-ticket items, we’d all like a new TV set, but the sets we have are serviceable. If they were offering a nice TV for $100, I might have made the trip, but the sets that I was considering were going for $700, down from $1,000 or so. And I’d like a computer to replace my desktop machine, which I bought in 1999, but that will have to wait until I’m feeling flush.
In any case, I had work to do at the office, and money is tight this month. So I went in to work, and enjoyed the productive peace and quiet.