The Watering Hole, Monday, November 24th, 2014: “Black Friday”

We didn’t have “Black Friday” when we were kids–hell, when I was a kid, we didn’t even have a mall in our area until I was in high school. Personally, I hate shopping on any day, let alone on a day when I would have to push my way through crowds of (shudder) “people.”

Although this Cracked.com article is from 2011, it’s got some interesting historical information and some tips if you’re one of the crazies folks who like going Christmas shopping on Black Friday. Here’s a few excerpts from “5 Black Friday Myths the Media Wants You to Believe”:

Actually, Black Friday wasn’t the biggest shopping day of the year until the advent of online shopping. Before that, it was rarely even in the top five…So why was the media paying so much attention to the fifth-biggest shopping day of the year? Well, partially because it’s a slow news day.”

“Black Friday finally did become the top revenue earner in 2003 by giving people who would rather stay home with their family a way to get at the deals…So the story that the media had been reporting for years that Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year finally came true, and suddenly they want to complicate it with a bunch of other days when you have to remember to wear riot gear to the mall.”

Myth #3, “Black Friday is the Day After Thanksgiving”, isn’t, as the author admits, really a “myth”, but in a sideways manner allows the author to elaborate on the history of Thanksgiving Day:

“Thanksgiving originally didn’t have a set date. George Washington proclaimed the first one on November 26, 1789, but the dates and even months changed for almost a century. Abraham Lincoln gave it a regular berth in 1863 as the last Thursday of November. It never occurred to Honest Abe that November sometimes has five Thursdays, and that this would create a problem down the road.

One of those Novembers with five Thursdays happened in 1939, when the United States was recovering from the Great Depression. At that time, waiting until after Thanksgiving to start the holiday shopping season was seen as almost holy, but Thanksgiving fell on the very last day of the month. A short number of Christmas shopping days, starting on December 1, could hurt the recovering economy. That’s why President Franklin Roosevelt had to put Turkey Day in its place.

A presidential proclamation was issued moving Thanksgiving to the second-to-last Thursday of November. Thirty-two states went along with FDR and issued the same proclamation, while the other 16 states said “fuck that.” For two years, a third of the U.S. celebrated Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November, while the other two-thirds of the country celebrated it on the second-to-last Thursday. For family members living in opposing states, this was a very short, lethargic version of the Civil War.”

Enjoy reading the rest of the article, particularly the captions under the photos. Heh.

This is our daily open thread, so go ahead and talk about anything.

Watering Hole: Monday, November 21, 2011 – Shop ‘Till You Drop

The big, box, retail stores are now moving their “black Friday” sales to Thanksgiving Day.  This bargain hunting has become another “holiday” of sorts.  Personally, I want no part of this shopping insanity.

Before leaving the house, ask these questions.

  • Do we really need more of the Chinese junk that is offered in the big, box stores?
  • Will our children suffer irreparable, emotional damage if they don’t get exactly what they want for Christmas?
  • Do we really know what other people would like to receive?  If we did, there wouldn’t be huge exchange lines the day after Christmas.
  • Are we spending our money that will leave our local communities just for a “bargain”?

Just like everyone else, I enjoy receiving gifts.  It may be the thought that counts, but I don’t need more “things” around my house.  When it comes to purchasing clothes, I prefer to buy my own clothes.  Some of the best gifts that I have received where gifts that were made by the giver.  Homemade food and homemade drinks are especially enjoyable.  Other favorites are gift certificates to either a bed and breakfast or to a local restaurant.   We always appreciate items made by local artisans.  These gifts support small, local businesses and keeps the money in the community.

This Christmas, try something different.  Show that you care about your own community by supporting local businesses.  Pass up the ‘super savings’ offered by the big, box, retail stores.   Shop local or make gifts.  The time spent shopping could be spent making something special for the people you love.  The receiver will always remember the care that you took in creating the gift.  This makes the gift special and not just another big, box, retail purchase.

This is our Open Thread.  What to you think?  Speak Up!

Watering Hole: November November 29, 2010 – Consumerism and Stuff

This year’s season of consumerism began on Black Friday, November 26.  The message is that the more me consume, the happier we will be.  Not so.  Sure, we were shopping for other people on Black Friday, but what does it say about our society when stores open at midnight and people stay up all night and wait in line for other stores that open at 4:00 am?

So this is where we are heading.

Continue reading

This Year, Why Not Try Something Different For Christmas?

I admit I have not been to a mall in over 2 1/2 years.  The closest I come to that kind of shopping environment is going to outlets once a year.  The retailers that know me best are the Benjamin Moore paint associates and the home improvement folks that have been selling me cedar shingles for my home.

In my own family, I’m in the minority.  I’m the only one that doesn’t participate in the Black Friday shopping battle.  Derrick Jackson talks about the brutality of Black Friday and making a change for Christmas this year.

It seems that it is not enough for Americans to watch football on turkey day. Obviously inspired by our beloved black-and-blue brutality, otherwise sane Americans treat Black Friday as their day in the NFL, blasting through the hole of the store opening to the 20-, the 30-, the 40-, the 50-percent-off sweater department! Then you chop-block the shopper ahead of you to advance from 53d to 52d in the checkout line.

All this sweat, tears, and occasional blood for the argyle for dear old Dad that becomes moth bait.

This year is, of course, different. Black Friday really turned tragic as a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death in New York. This and the economy stinks. President-elect Obama has said for two years the planet is in peril. That originally only referred to global warming. But Americans keep thinking we can pilfer the planet at no peril.

Continue reading

Two Dead at Toys ‘R’ Us Shooting

Details from the Huffington Post:

Two people were shot to death in a crowded toy store on Black Friday in a confrontation apparently involving rival groups, city officials said.

Palm Desert Councilman Jim Ferguson said police told him two men with handguns shot and killed each other. Ferguson said he asked police whether the incident was a dispute over a toy or whether it was gang-related. He said police told him they were not going to release further details until the victims’ relatives were notified.

Continue reading

Worker Dies in a Stampede at Wal-Mart

This puts a whole new meaning on Black Friday.  Not only is this article tragic and sad, it does not shine a very appealing light on “holiday shoppers.”  Whatever happened to civility and manners while entering a store or a business.  Is a person’s life worth getting that discount of $5 or maybe $10 on a piece of merchandise?  I think not.  To trample a young man and take the doors off their hinges to save a few dollars and be first in line is not in anyway shape or form considered civilized behavior.  Here is the sad story of how this young man lost his life this morning.

A Wal-Mart worker died after being trampled when hundreds of shoppers smashed through the doors of a Long Island store Friday morning, police and witnesses said.

The 34-year-old worker, employed as an overnight stock clerk, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m.

Continue reading