By BRYAN GRAY
Call me consistent. Once again, I did not participate in the annual buying binge and road to rudeness that Americans call Black Friday. Neither did I besmirch the memory of wholesome Pilgrims and Americana by roaming a shopping mall on Thanksgiving.
You may call me a traditionalist. The best description, however, is that I am just not a great consumer. I only buy things I really need Р and if I really need them (socks, for instance), I don’t wait for an event forcing me to roll into a parking lot in the middle of the night and be among the first 20 drowsy people in line to receive a door-buster price.
Black Friday is now Thanksgiving ... Buying has become an addiction. I understand America’s love of electronics, but realistically none of us need to shove the turkey aside on Thanksgiving afternoon to buy a flat-screen TV larger than a Toyota Camry.
Since my children are grown, I also see nothing inviting about waking up at 2 a.m. to rush down aisle two to pick up a Sofia the First singing doll or an Angry Bird gadget. (You say, “But what if the toy is sold out before I get there?” Trust me. Your kid will live to see another day.)
The Thanksgiving openings are especially troubling. Not everyone thinks Thanksgiving is sacred, but most of us agree that tradition could allow us at least one day’s respite from unbridled (and sometimes hysterical) commerce.
However, the urge to spend is strong. As a lady in New Jersey told the Associated Press, “I really don’t dig the Thanksgiving thing. I feel bad for the workers.” Yet there she was, ducking out of her family’s Thanksgiving dinner to fork over $288 for a 50-inch Walmart TV.
This year more than a dozen major retailers stayed open for 24 hours or more on Thanksgiving through Black Friday.
In New York, 15,000 people waited in line for the flagship Macy’s to open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Last year alone, Thanksgiving Day sales rose a whopping 55% from the previous year.
My theory behind all of this is simple: Americans are pack animals.
When a bunch of people get together and one of them darts down an aisle and pulls out a credit card, others in the pack surge along.
Self-esteem crumbles when everyone else is buying and you are not. You don’t feel part of the clan or tribe (for example, the mom and her daughters who wear matching t-shirts and label Black Friday binge shopping a “family tradition”).
I am not of that tribe.
But I feel like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike, foolishly hoping to stop the incoming crash for waves.
On Black Friday in Las Vegas, Nev., a woman named Peggy Meyers decorated her yard with plush snowmen and holiday decor. She was holding her annual Black Friday yard sale in her garage.
Black Friday yard sales? That’s the sign of the Apocalypse!