Black Friday

Day after Thanksgiving

Before long, every entrance to the Exchange became so blocked by the still-gathering legions, that strength and patience were required by him who desired or found it necessary to work his way through the press of people…

What had happened to values? What did it mean? Tampering with gold…had precipitated an alarmingly unsettled condition, which might reach disastrously from one end of the land to the other…

Frederic Stewart Isham, Black Friday, 1904

Greetings, children. Buy Nothing Day is the day after Thanksgiving. The Devil calls it Black Friday.

Reverend Billy Talen, What Would Jesus Buy?

Black is the color ascribed to those terrifying autumnal days when the Stock Market takes a nose dive. Black Monday (October 19, 1987), Black Thursday (October 24, 1929) and the original Black Friday (September 24, 1869), when the price of gold fell dramatically after Jim Fisk and Jay Gould attempted to corner the market.

In the 21st century, Black Friday is day after Thanksgiving and the start of the Christmas shopping season, when stores hope to get their balance sheets back ‘in the black’ (positive, as opposed to ‘in the red’) after one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

The term Black Friday supposedly originated not with accountants but with Philadelphia bus drivers and police officers, who lamented the traffic congestion that inevitably gridlocked the city on the day after Thanksgiving.

In 2008, consumers got a reminder of the crowd-control meaning behind Black Friday’s name. A Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death by a mob of shoppers storming into the Long Island store to buy whatever holiday item is so important that one must kill one’s neighbor to purchase it. A pregnant woman in the same melee was hospitalized and reportedly suffered a miscarriage.

On the other side of the country, an argument in the electronics department of a Palm Desert Toys ‘R’ Us ended with two men shooting each other.

A brief aberration? Or a sign of things to come? According to Reverend Billy Talen, the Shopocalypse is upon us…

Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.

Luke 12:15

2 Replies to “Black Friday”

  1. I think that the film “What Would Jesus Buy” should be mandatory watching for the many Americans who can’t figure out why they are so in debt, or why their children’s values are so skewed. I wish the film had been better crafted because the message is so important. But of course; trying to get people to live simply and not covet everything they see on t.v. is already a lost cause.

  2. I totally agree, especially with the part about wishing it was better crafted. A great message, but a mediocre presentation. It was entertaining, but I wish it had been more along the lines of Maxxed Out, a great documentary about credit card debt.

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