Buy Nothing Day or Black Friday?

November 27th, Friday–

Thanksgiving’s over! I’m so thankful!

Now, today, of course is another sort of “holiday”, and which one you celebrate depends largely on your financial circumstances.

The people running the stores want you to go and shop! shop! shop! til you drop! ‘cuz they’ve got big! big! big! savings on everything you need for Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!

And then they cue “Santa Claus is coming to town”. All those Christmas songs they play in the malls and Wal-Marts aren’t just because the store owners are jolly–it’s an musical reminder. “It’s Christmas”, says the song, which reminds you of all the things you have to buy. Buy! Buy! Buy!

For some of us, the day after Thanksgiving is Buy Nothing Day. This is the holiday I am currently celebrating.

Now, I could act all smug and say the reason I buy nothing on Buy Nothing Day is because I want to protest unbridled consumerism and rapacious capitalism, but the honest truth is that I just don’t have any money to spend. Who’s got money after laying out for all that food on Thanksgiving? (You know most people on food stamps are out of them by the last week of the month.)

Plus, if you got up early Thursday morning to make extra pies, and stayed up late Wednesday night doing the same thing, you’re probably too burnt to get up at some godawful hour to go buy Christmas presents. I slept till almost seven this morning, despite the guinea pigs squeaking at me at six, demanding to be fed at the usual time.

But, now that I think of it, if someone was really wanting to do their Christmas shopping early! early! early!, and that person had money, it’s entirely possible that their family ate out on Thanksgiving rather than do the traditional feast at home.

Hey, that’s not a bad thing, either. If I had money I might do that, too, on one of these turkey days. But I kinda like the day after Thanksgiving being an easy one at home. Sometimes I think I’m more thankful just after Thanksgiving than on Thanksgiving. The guests are gone so the pressure’s off to keep the house all perfect looking, there’s a ton of food still around so you don’t have to cook much, don’t have to run the kid to school today, etc. Who would want to ruin that just to get up early and throw oneself into the Christmas chaos?

I like Christmas ok. I’m not anti-Santa or anything. But I suspect that even if I was rich enough to just hit some buffet on Thanksgiving rather than cook at home that I’d still rather not do the “Black Friday” thing.

By the way, who came up with that stupid name? “Black Friday”? Yeah, I know, it’s when businesses hope to “end up in the black” for the Christmas season…but every time I hear it I think of the stock market crash of 1929 (didn’t they refer to that as “Black Friday” too?). And of course there’s that Steely Dan song called “Black Friday”, in which the term seems to also refer to a day when all the stock markets would crash, etc.

When Black Friday comes, I’ll stand down by the door

And catch the gray men when they dive from the fourteenth floor

Yep, I’ve got that running through my head now. Good think I like Steely Dan. Beats the hell out of you-know-what music.

I’m starting to resent Christmas taking up so much space on the calendar. It used to be they didn’t start playing you-know-what songs on the tv until after Thanksgiving…this year, I swear I started hearing them before Halloween. It’s just too much. Giving gifts is nice and all, I like giving ’em and getting ’em, and shopping can even be kinda fun when you have money and you’re into it, but jeez, it seems like they just want to beat Christmas into us.

Also, I think Christmas is a perfect demonstration of why we need real public transportation in the US, instead of everyone driving around in their individual cars. I like being able to drive in my car, wouldn’t want it taken away from me, but the worst thing about Christmas shopping is the traffic and the trying to find a parking spot. It makes the whole experience suck.

For what it’s worth, I think every Wal-Mart in the country oughta be required by law to pay for putting a traffic light in at their entrances. I don’t know about everyone else’s W-M, but ours in Hilo is a bitch to get into or out of. They could afford to put in a light if someone made ’em do it.

(Don’t have anything against Wal-Mart, particularly…my mom worked for Wal-Mart…my brother worked for Wal-Mart…my daughter-in-law worked for Wal-Mart…I think my nephew still works for Wal-Mart. Just to clear that up.)

When Black Friday comes, I’ll fly down to Muswellbrook

Gonna strike all the big red words from my little black book

Gonna do just what I please, gonna wear no socks and shoes

With nothing to do but feed all the kangaroos

Now, if you’re just bound and determined to buy something, you could buy stuff online. Avoid those crowds! You could sit butt naked in front of your computer and shop if you want. Like…you could buy some beautiful handmade crocheted snowflakes on etsy.com.

(Who, me? Plug my own etsy shop in a blog entry decrying consumerism? Uh, yeah…but in my defense there’s a good chance that y’all might not be reading this right on the day after Thanksgiving…and if you are, you certainly don’t have to buy anything today…and if it does offend someone, well, there’s only a handful of people reads this blog anyway! So, the two or three people that might be offended are welcome to think of me as a total hypocrite.)

When Black Friday comes, I’m gonna dig myself a hole

Gonna lay down in it till I satisfy my soul

Gonna let the world pass by me, the Archbishop’s gonna sanctify me

And if he don’t come across I’m gonna let it roll

I bet I’m gonna hear this in my head all day. I don’t mind.

PS–was just looking up those song words and found this little blurb about “Black Friday”:

The driving shuffle “Black Friday” (from Katy Lied, 1975) was the first single released from their fourth album. Black Friday occurred on September 24, 1869, a day of securities market panic in which thousands of Americans were financially ruined, but the term is now applied to any financial crisis on either side of the Atlantic.

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