Fuck Black Friday
By Ben Donovan
This year, like most years, many of you will leave the house in the wee hours of the Friday morning after Thanksgiving to begin the holiday season in the sort of sick way only Americans could: by lining up outside the countless Best Buys and Targets that dot the surface of this fading Republic for a chance at a discount on whatever shiny trinket happens to be in this season. You will stampede through the doors like herds of wildebeest. People will die, trampled under thousands of Chinese-made sneakers. You will pay no attention; their sacrifice is simply the cost of doing business in a nation hopelessly addicted to the buying and selling of useless garbage.
What the fuck is wrong with you people?
I’m serious. You have a problem, America. On the spectrum of awful, sadistic cultural practices, I’d rank Black Friday somewhere between child marriage and headhunting. Consider this an intervention; I’d like to attempt to let y’all know what complete assholes you’re being.
Think really hard about what you’re doing. Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time to gather with loved ones—to eat, drink, laugh, cry, and, in my case, be lectured by your parents about your ongoing lack of gainful employment. Busy schedules and long distances mean that many of us are afforded precious little quality time with our families; holidays like Thanksgiving offer a rare break from the stresses of everyday life, a chance to forget impending finals and overdue electric bills and relax, if only for a night. You people, however, have turned occasion into yet another excuse to buy shit.
Why? Is there really some product so indispensable that you can’t wait a few hours? More importantly, is the time you spend with your family so trivial to you that it can be bought for a few percent off of a couple of stupid toys? Christ, I’m glad I’m not related to you pricks. The idea that this country really is full of the sort of Philistines who would tear themselves away from turkey and football—sober, ye Gods!—get in the car, and drive to the nearest Wal-Mart, just for a chance at a moderate discount on shit they didn’t need anyway—it’s absolutely sickening.
Just so we’re clear: if it were only your own holiday you dumb goddamn degenerates were fucking up, that’d be one thing. It probably wouldn’t even merit a diatribe within the venerable pages of the Water Tower. But it’s not just your Thanksgiving you idiots are ruining; as it turns out, all the stores you assholes feel the need to patronize at midnight are staffed by people. Real people, just like you and me. These real people, it turns out, have a long and diverse list of things they’d like to be doing on Thanksgiving—and surprisingly, none of them involve standing bleary-eyed at the register of a GameStop at two in the goddamn morning, listening to some entitled suburban sock-sniffer complain about how his copy of Call of Duty isn’t in yet.
Guess what? While you may get the option to go to the mall at midnight on Black Friday, the people who work there don’t. Nobody asks them. They’re there—maybe early Friday morning, maybe midnight, maybe even Thursday evening—because you assholes are. By lining up outside an American Eagle at midnight for half-off a fucking pair of blue jeans, you aren’t just ruining your own Thanksgiving; you’re ruining at least a dozen other people’s. And as someone who has worked in retail, I can tell you with complete certainty that every person working there hates you with a passion normally reserved only for Serbian war criminals and Dallas Cowboys fans.
My modest proposal, then, is this: don’t. Just. Goddamn. Don’t.
Don’t leave the dinner table Thanksgiving night to go shopping. Stay. Sit. Eat. Have some more wine. Watch football. Spend some quality time with your family. And if you must buy shit you don’t need (and probably won’t want six weeks later), do it during normal business hours. It’s not a superhuman feat; it’s just basic self-control. Don’t buy anything until at least 9 a.m. Friday. You’ll survive, I promise.
I can’t even believe I have to write this in the first place. You people make me goddamn sick, every last one of you.