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Blog,  Expat Life

Black Friday’s alternate meaning

Broken society
Image courtesy of fulltimeartists.com

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he term Black Friday has become synonymous with a plunge in morality, on a day set aside for worship at the feet of the God of Consumerism. Human sacrifice is practiced by those fervent in their beliefs that the Bargain is above all else.

Violence mars Black Friday – CNN.com.

How does this fit in with the Occupy movement which originated in Wall Street, New York, and is now sweeping the globe? It seems the 99% have taken a day the weekend off.

They say that all things eventually outlive their usefulness, well it seems to me that a number of religious and historical holidays have been hijacked by Commercialism and Consumerism, to such a degree, that the original sentiments behind them, although oft-repeated, ring hollow in a society obsessed with buying into a set idea of How Things Should Be. It’s all become a bit “do as I say, not as I do”. It’s now simply a flat, one-dimensional concept, a scene, that has been marketed to people incessantly, continuously creeping and seeping into homes through every form of media, propagated by businesses, schools, voluntary groups and unknowing, unseeing individuals. Everything has to be just so, we have to eat this and we have to do this – it matters not whether you enjoy it, it must be done because it is the thing to do. How many people who don’t like sprouts eat them on Christmas Day? How did we let it get this far?

I remember Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada this year. My family and I were in the supermarket, grocery shopping. I was scouring the shelves for polenta, having decided to make gnocchi, when I became aware of a low-level, angry hum, like a nest of hives. I looked up to see where the noise emanated from and, at the other end of the aisle, there was a woman, on her knees, peering at a lower shelf and agitatedly pulling packets off it, in a frantic search for something. A quick glance around confirmed that K and the kids were still in the neighbouring aisle, so I sidled closer (as you do) to try to make out what she was saying. What had started as furious, under-the-breath, exasperated swearing, grew in volume as she failed to find what she was searching for. Very soon, the floor surrounding her was littered with packets and the air was punctuated with a liberal peppering of increasingly loud “FUCK”s, in the course of her diatribe about the stupidity of the grocery chain in not ordering enough packets of gravy! GRAVY! That was what it was all about. If she hadn’t been so tightly wound I might have stepped in and given her a crash course on how easy it is to make the stuff from scratch with a little cornflour, but, coming from Britain, where intervention can be met with a number of anti-social outcomes, I decided to forget that idea. I left the hero role to a burly man who engaged with her gently and expressed his solidarity in an effort to calm her down.

How can the whole festivity thing be enjoyable if the pressure is so great that people crack over gravy, or Buzz Lightyears, or some other piece of crap?

It seems that in the case of Black Friday at least, the name has proved to be prophetic.

Happy Holidays Sheep!

2 Comments

  • Nikki - A Mother in France

    Sorry I had no idea what Black Friday was (had to google it). Yes it’s ridiculous isn’t it how people can get so stressed over ‘stuff’. Get a grip! Luckily Christmas is not so commercialised here. I used to hate Christmas shopping in England – everyone pushing and shoving to get the last tin of Roses, piling their trolleys high with enough food for a week when it’s only a couple of days! Here in France it’s much more civilized. There’s hardly any decorations up in the shops yet and not everyone bothers anyway. The shops are hardly any busier than any other time of the year and I can do my Christmas shopping at a leisurely pace. Lovely. It takes the pressure off and means we can enjoy it all properly together 🙂

    • expatlogue

      Don’t worry Nikki, I drew a blank too, when i first heard about. I assumed it must be stock-market related! It really does undermine the whole raison d’etre when the stress levels get that high. I’d rather opt out and do my own thing! The French sound like they’ve got it sussed and so do you. Thanks for the comment 🙂

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