"Grandma, why are they camping outside a house?"
-Unknown child-sage, Best Buy parking lot. November 21, 2012
One event that is currently taking place all over our fair country is Black Friday; even though it is Wednesday. Which I suppose should not come as
any sort of shock, considering that Christmas seemed to start sometime before Halloween this year.
Anyway, I felt compelled to go out and snap that image at a nearby Best Buy, I knew they would be there. As I walked up to take the shot, I heard the
quote that I posted above, stated by a little girl to her Grandmother as they were entering the store. Why are they camping in front of a house,
indeed. What a profoundly deep and strange way to analogize America's addiction to excess.
As I write this, I could also imagine, for instance, a native from maybe some Pastoralist culture, very different from ours, coming upon the same
scene and asking the same question: "Why are these people camped in front of such a large and rich looking house?"
Anyhow, I hate this phenomenon and I was just wondering what you all thought of it, too. I am personally not down with this new month called
When I look at this social phenomenon, I think of lots of things, like: “A fleet is only as fast as its slowest ship”. That's an old saying, and
it's true, and when I look upon these folks camped out in the chilly shade of the giant Best Buy, I think, "There they are, our slowest ships".
But what really chaps my hide is that I realize that that is not really true, no matter how hard I would like it to be.
Why? Because in today's prevailing social paradigm, what once were our slowest ships, are now our fastest ships. Quite literally. They got in line
first. They will get the stuff. I? Will not get the stuff (If I had a desire for it).
A phrase that I hear thrown around a lot is something like, "Society defaults in all ways to its lowest common denominator". Well, on a day like
today when I am feeling poorly about what I think that this whole mess represents, I agree completely.
I wonder what this all means? I thought that we were all supposed to be reflecting on how we got ourselves in to our present dilemma. Seems to me that
if you are camping out for three days and more to save 50 or 100 bucks then you really can't afford whatever it is you are buying. And I have to
admit that in some small way, I am intrigued by the possibility that some of the tents might be manned by best buy employees.
The whole thing really gets me down and I was really just wondering how the rest of you feel about Black Friday and the seeming institutionalization
Thanks for reading.
Black Friday Links
Here is a video from 2006. It was taken by members of Best Buy's Geek Squad. They are very blunt about what they think about the folks that have been
standing in line. I am sure things haven't changed a bit.
"Because, ya know, they're stupid"
Walmart is notorious for actual violence and deaths on previous Black Fridays
WalMart 2011 Black Friday
2008. Black Friday Death at WalMart.