William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

What To Do On Black Friday

Another holiday tradition, our annual Black Friday post! I have removed last year’s updates and will include new ones for this joyous day. There may be fewer because several retail establishments decided to forgo the day of thanksgiving and turn it into a day of avarice, so that Black Friday passions could be spread across time.

This, one of our most sacred days of the year, can be exhausting, especially in the choices one must make. Should one wake at 3am or should one even sleep? Should one take part in a riot, tumbling headlong into a store to be the first to secure the new iWhatsit, which is rumored to be 0.00132″ slimmer than last month’s model? Or should one circle the mall’s outer limits for hours spying for a spot to park?

Just what form should the joy of this holy day take? Well, here are some Black ideas. Please contribute your own.

1. Go see a priest (they often wear black). Confessions heard daily.

Truly, confession is good for the soul.

Truly, confession is good for the soul. Find a Dominican if you can.

2. Read Wordsworth, the old curmudgeon. The sheer absence of Black in this poem surprisingly puts one in mind of it.

England, 1802

O FRIEND! I know not which way I must look
For comfort, being, as I am, opprest,
To think that now our life is only drest
For show; mean handy-work of craftsman, cook,
Or groom!—We must run glittering like a brook
In the open sunshine, or we are unblest:
The wealthiest man among us is the best:
No grandeur now in nature or in book
Delights us. Rapine, avarice, expense,
This is idolatry; and these we adore:
Plain living and high thinking are no more:
The homely beauty of the good old cause
Is gone; our peace, our fearful innocence,
And pure religion breathing household laws.

— William Wordsworth. 1770-1850

3. Chat with a nun! Develop the habit. Find one who wears one for better results.

Calling all souls!

Calling all souls!

4. Go larping as comic book character The Consumer! Black of heart and of deed, her only mission to deplete, The Consumer! plunges headlong though humanity devouring all in her path, her single-minded avaricious mind bent on swallowing whatever her evil masters tell her to. (These masters communicate with The Consumer! via electromagnetic wave and encoded messages on certain web pages.) Fear The Consumer’s secrete Door Busting powers, which she uses to devastating effect to dwindle tables at Sales Events! Never stand between The Consumer! and a Two-For-One Deal! The only way to avoid her is to stay in your domicile.

The Consumer strikes again!

The Consumer strikes again!

Update BLACK FRIDAY BEATDOWN: Girls Brawl In UK Mall Over Cheap Panties (Video)

Upate Police were called early Friday morning to help maintain security at some supermarkets and shopping outlets that offered deep discounts starting at midnight. And these last two were in England, which though it managed to copy the USA’s Black Friday, forgot to include a day-before Thanksgiving. Odd.

Update 2 Women Fight At Norwalk Walmart Over Barbie Doll.

Update Black Friday: Woman punches off-duty cop at Indianapolis mall.

Update Black Friday shopping leads to scuffles, fights.

Update VIDEO: Shoppers Fight Over Wal-Mart Deals In Michigan City.

Update See BlackFridayDeathCount.com.

Update THE RETURN OF BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING BRAWLS.

13 Comments

  1. Confession is one ritual from the R. Catholic Church that is very very psychologically healthy. Properly done the individual has to confront their various [usually small] shortcomings. In psych-jargon this can directly offset defense mechanisms like “projection” (I’ll leave to the reader to easily research), also “scapegoating” — affixing blame onto others for one’s misdeeds, etc. This is a ritual that contributes greatly to facilitating one being honest with oneself.

    Scapegoating [for example], when “successfully” done, leaves the person doing it with enhanced capacity for self-delusion–the ability to shift self-responsibility & accountability, when such fails, onto others. The flip side is an enhanced ability to assume credit when credit is not due (i.e. when due to others). When a child in a dysfunctional family is the scapegoat, the emotional damage inflicted (shattered self-esteem) can be profound (much readily available about this).

    In this tight job market such behaviors are very/increasingly commonplace as too many employees use what little info they have, or simply lie, to make a colleague appear less capable, and thus more likely to be the one laid off. Management commonly does variants of this too (anyone watching D. Trump’s The Apprentice, at least the early competitions that were somewhat realistic, can easily see a version where he had to fire someone and the choice was very unclear, might as well have been be a coin flip….then….after the firing all kinds of rationalizations occur about why that particular contestant really needed to go…).

    In the USA, far more than any other country, many Christian denominations have sprouted with the old-emphasis on simple belief over behavior [accountability]. Believe and you are “saved.” ‘Believe and you’ll get good things.’ And so on. Joel Osteen, as one major example, has made a fortune off this self-centered free-lunch feel-good philosophy that so often facilitates highly hypocritical behavior relative to the espoused values.

  2. Maybe those bargains aren’t what they’re cracked up to be: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304281004579217863262940166

  3. Briggs

    November 29, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Ken,

    You’ll find no support of Joel Osteen here. Except this. Video link.

  4. Katie,

    I worked in sales at one point and, at least whee I worked, there were no discounts. There were, though, reductions from a list price that was never an intended price.

    That doesn’t mean there aren’t true bargains — they’re just hard to come by. I saw a story recently about a car dealership (in Houston, IIRC) that offers at least three cars during Black Friday for $1 and several more at $1000 and even more at $10K chalking up the loss as advertising,

  5. Scrapping ladies? Stun gun applied three times. Stunning!

  6. So, based on Wordsworth’s appraisal, nothing about human nature has changed in 212 years.

    Ken, as you undoubtedly know, the scapegoat for the ancient Jews was a means of ritual purification (Lev 16:10) and is for Christians a prefiguring of the sacrificial atonement of Christ (Rom 3:25). Similar rituals among other ancient peoples were intended to ward off evil rather than be a confession of it. You’re right to point out how powerful it is.

  7. We did go shopping—for dryer parts. The dryer belt broke with a load of wet clothes in it and one in the washer. It was either go to town for parts or hang wet clothes up as holiday decor! We went straight to the parts store, stopped for 52 oz sodas (in honor of Nanny Bloomberg) and then went straight home.

    I now buy most everything off the internet, short of my groceries. My shopping gene is apparently completely absent or dead!

  8. Sheri,

    How ever did you miss the Black Friday rush at the parts store? Nanny Bloomberg is winning. Those 52 oz. sodas used to be 64 oz.

    I too shop mostly the internet. Even for clothes and even for some grocery items that won’t spoil.


    A bit OT: the XM radio classic channel has been running Bach Friday today. They say it will be soothing to get Bach into your car after shopping .

  9. DAV: It was a very small appliance store—no rush there.

    Actually, the 52 oz aren’t really 52 oz anyway. If you pour 12 oz cans into them, they do not hold 4.333 cans. The 32 oz are actually 24 oz. That Nanny Bloomberg is a sneaky guy!

  10. “Bach” to rhyme with “Black”? Tell me it’s not true!

    I’ve been deleting every email that mentions ‘Black Friday’. Unread, mostly. Panama Hats Direct for crying out loud! Neither they nor we have Thanksgiving. Cultural hegemony at its worst.

  11. I must admit I did shop yesterday.
    Bacon, eggs and cider.

    Sorted.

  12. Went to a comic book store (local proprietor – no Black Friday sales – actually picked up items back ordered the month before); went to a used bookstore; went to the cheap theatre (where I actually felt guilty spending under $10 for two including popcorn and soda)

  13. John B,

    Continue to feel guilty. The last time I went to a movie theater it cost nearly $60 for popcorn and sodas for three. You have made a complete mockery of the intent behind Black Friday. There is not enough outrage for it.

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