Black Friday – is it a plague? Is it a stock-market crash? No! It’s a shopaholics orgasm!

Wal-Mart checkout
Image via Wikipedia

T minus three weeks!

Black Friday 2011 is on Friday (duh!) the 25th of November, the Friday following Thanksgiving in the US. It’s traditionally regarded as the first day of the Christmas shopping season so what better course of action could there be than blowing all your readies on Day#1…

Retailers open early, 4am or before, and offer big promotions and discounts to get the greenbacks flowing. Although it’s not an actual holiday, many employers give people the day off to save them having to dream up a pathetic excuse everyone can see straight through.

The name Black Friday refers to retailers turning a profit, or being “in the black”, and it’s the busiest shopping day of the year. The malls and streets are packed with people bent on bagging a bargain often at the expense of care and respect for ones fellow man.
“Recent years have seen a marked increase in extreme chaos resulting from people’s desires to take advantage of Black Friday sales.

In 2006, a man in Roanoke, Virginia shopping at Best Buy was recorded on video assaulting another shopper.[16] Unruly Wal-Mart shoppers at a store outside Columbus, Ohio, quickly flooded in the doors at opening, pinning several employees against stacks of merchandise.[17] Nine shoppers in a California mall were injured, including an elderly woman who had to be taken to the hospital, when the crowd rushed to grab gift certificates that had been released from the ceiling.[18]

In 2008 a crowd of approximately 2,000 shoppers in Valley Stream, New York, waited outside for the 5:00 a.m. opening of the local Wal-Mart. As opening time approached the crowd grew anxious and when the doors were opened the crowd pushed forward, breaking the door down, and trampling a 34 year old employee to death. The shoppers did not appear concerned with the victim’s fate, expressing refusal to halt their stampede when other employees attempted to intervene and help the injured employee, complaining that they had been waiting in the cold and were not willing to wait any longer. Shoppers had begun assembling as early as 9:00 the evening before. Even when police arrived and attempted to render aid to the injured man, shoppers continued to pour in, shoving and pushing the officers as they made their way into the store. Several other people incurred minor injuries, including a pregnant woman who had to be taken to the hospital.[19][20][21] The incident may be the first case of a death occurring during Black Friday sales; according to the National Retail Federation, “We are not aware of any other circumstances where a retail employee has died working on the day after Thanksgiving.”[19]

During Black Friday 2010, a Madison, Wisconsin woman was arrested outside of a Toys ‘R’ Us store after cutting in line, and threatening to shoot other shoppers who tried to object.[22] A Toys for Totsvolunteer in Georgia was stabbed by a shoplifter.[23] An Indianapolis woman was arrested after causing a disturbance by arguing with other Wal-Mart shoppers. She had been asked to leave the store, but refused.[24] A man was arrested at a Florida Wal-Mart when other shoppers waiting in line for the store to open noticed that he was carrying a handgun and reported the matter to police. He was discovered to also be carrying two knives and a pepper spray grenade.[25] A man in Buffalo, New York, was trampled when doors opened at a Target store and unruly shoppers rushed in, in an episode reminiscent of the deadly 2008 Wal-Mart stampede.[26]”     Wikipedia

I think you get the idea!

Black FridayMany Canadians will indulge in a spot of cross-border shopping at this time of year, lured by the extreme price cuts Canadian retailers seem loathe to provide. There are organised coach trips on the “Fun Bus” that, for $45, will pick you up at an ungodly hour and take you on a tour of the major retail outlets on the US side of Niagara Falls, before getting you home broke, but in time for tea (well, there’s always Kraft Dinner at 99cents a box). The lines at Border Control must be shocking but don’t worry, there’s an app for that!

This year Amazon and Wal-mart have “leaked” their Black Friday deals to the public to stir up some pre-stampede excitement! Wal-Mart are promoting their Super Saturday Sale, starting this weekend at 11am to get people in the money-spending mood. What are you waiting for people? It’s time to show your support for the 3 C’s – Consumerism, Capitalism and Made in China. Grab your wallet, it’s time to Occupy Wal-Mart!

Wal-Mart Black Friday Deals

Whitby Shores, Whitby, Ontario

By Aisha Ashraf

An autistic Irish immigrant in a cross-cultural marriage, Aisha Ashraf is the archetypal outlander, writing to root herself through place and perspective. Published in The Rumpus, The Maine Review, River Teeth, HuffPost and elsewhere, her work explores the legacy of trauma, the nature of being an outsider and the narrow confines of belonging. She currently lives in Canada.


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