Having been back in the states again (LA this time) for a couple of weeks now, I was heartened to see that some things never change. Despite the odds, I see some of our most die-hard traditions still haven’t let up. Nevermind that the economy is in the proverbial toilet, joblessness is through the roof, and things look pretty grim economically pretty much everywhere. Black Friday still reigns supreme!
I got my first sign of that driving back to my sister’s house on the 101 last night about 9pm, and the freeway was jammed. On a holiday.
Later, closer to 11pm, I drove out to Commerce to play a few rounds of poker. Only to find throngs of cars flooding the large outlet mall next to the casino. Presumably to nail all the midnight store openings for the drastic mega-sales.
Traffic was insane, people were driving as if they were rabid dogs, cutting each other off without blinking an eye. Horns blaring, tempers flaring, curses flying, it was pure chaotic poetry.
Then the news reports started pouring in. Crowds getting unruly in stores, due to pushing and shoving. One woman pepper spraying a dozen other people at a WalMart here in the Valley. A shooting at another WalMart in the Bay Area. I suspect by the time the day is over, there will be a dozen more incidents, if not more.
All this leads me to a conclusion. The US is still a nation of suckers. Consumers will still fall for every piece of marketing hype, ploy, and bait that corporate America will dish out at them. People will continue spending money they don’t have, on a ridiculous, SILLY holiday, that has been churned up into a bizarre mecca ritual. And your average American consumer plays right into it. Even more bizarre, the holiday shopping season has become a backbone indicator of the state of the entire US economy. That’s right about 40 days of the year, determines the overall economic health of the entire US economy for the following year. Which, quite frankly, I find utterly embarrassing.
What I think many people don’t understand, is that Black Friday has become a national shame. It shows us, and the world, just how ridiculously manipulated the general US population really is. As long as people keep playing the game that is dished out by the corporate bigwigs, they will continue to be their subservient pets.
But yeah, let’s not forget all those incredible deals out there. What was I thinking?