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Tuesday 24th Oct 2017

Somehow I think the subject of Black Friday has come up each of the last couple of years during my post-Thanksgiving Saturdays.

And, the bottom line is still the same: I don't get it.

I do understand that Black Friday gets its name because ideally the big sales retailers put forward each Friday after Turkey Day boosts their revenues enough to push the books from the red to the black.

But, I also think retailers are confused and need to come up with a new name for a bunch of reasons.

The first of which is Black Friday has no fewer than eight negative associations since 1869, when the Fisk-Gould Financial Scandal rocked the good old US-of-A.

In 1881 the Eyemouth disaster occurred, killing 169 fisherman, and in 1939 there was a series of Austrailian bush fires that wiped out 71 more humans.

World War II brought an Allied air attack against the Nazis in Norway, and the same year (1945) Warner Brothers had a riot. In 1978 there was a massacre of protesters in Iran, and in 1987 a tornado ripped Edmonton, Alberta.

All these incidents, a number of which were domestic, and one of which involved financial malefesance, are deemed "Black Fridays" with the name not logging one really positive note.

Unless you consider saving money at Best Buy or Walmart on electronics as positive as the Black Friday ads that have bombarded to the TV waves over the last couple of weeks.

Surely that message seems to work as I saw pictures of some poor schlubs setting up lawn chairs as early as last Monday to get in on the savings. Although what that really means is saving--or more important spending--money was more important to these folks than spending some family time with their pack over one of the more familial-based holidays.

And, all I can imagine is mass hysteria as some of the retailers behind Black Friday lure folks in with the promise of a deal while of course, the heads of the same companies stay home with their families, enjoying the holiday and food and warmth and closeness.

Not that I am against either saving money or even capitalism.

But, for one, there have also been ads this turkey season noting that today is "Small Business Saturday," urging consumers to indeed patronize the small retailers which is something I definitely support.

Though there is a paradox because in large part, industries like Walmart, which are owned by a family, are considered "small" because the ownership of the business is limited to a few people.

Furthermore, there is something strange about a company like Walmart pushing for small business when their success is rooted largely in driving their smaller competitors out of business.

But, that aside, I will rely on my 17-year old niece Lindsay Hedgecock's observations of her Black Friday experience last year when she and her mates stood in line in Walnut Creek, Ca. starting at 4 a.m. after Thanksgiving to purchase a couple of items at 40% or 50% off.

"A rip off and a joke" Lindsay noted, saying they stood in line for hours, and then finding nothing that they wanted at any kind of bargain price, despite battling the elements and older grabby shoppers.

Lindsay also said she will never fall for that again, and that most of the stuff she wanted either for herself or to buy as holiday gifts she was able to get anyway, and a lot of it on sale still. Hence, no need to poffer up and wait it out like the next Harry Potter film or IPhone was being released and no one could simply wait till a normal time to buy or see (and I write that as a serious devotee of my IPhone, something I know Lindsay is as well).

Too bad most consumers are simply not as smart as a 17-year old.

By the way, the cranky rumblings of an aging man aside, I do wish nothing but a wonderful and safe holiday weekend and season to all of our readers irrespective of where you like to shop! Or even what you like to shop for.

 

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