This was my post this past week on Facebook.
"I can’t believe what happens on Black Friday. I would agree that my birth was a pretty big deal, but what you have made of it and the way you behave on that day is just embarrassing. Save your money, give each other love on Christmas. That’s what I’m all about."
Now it might be a bit sacrilegious to make up quotes for Jesus, but I had to do it. There is no time during the year that I am more embarrassed to be a human than on "Black Friday."
I’m sure you, like me, witnessed with amazement the scenes from primarily Wal-Marts across the country of shoppers fighting over flat-screen TVs, tablets, smart phones and who knows what kind of merchandise piled high and discounted deeply.
I tried to get the bottom of this and even scoured a few flyers to see what would motivate an otherwise fairly rational society to act like such idiots in preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birthday.
Granted, there were some pretty good deals, including flat-screen TVs as low as $98 for a 32-inch set and so forth. But does that explain the looter mentality that ensued once the doors were open on Thursday and Friday? I think not.
Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day, usually considered the start of the Christmas shopping season.
Best I can tell, the name is based on the theory that retailers traditionally operated at a financial loss from January through November, and "Black Friday" indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or "in the black," according to Wikipedia.
Here is another post I saw on Facebook:
"Black Friday: Because only in America, people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have."
Now the retailers have started the sale period on Thanksgiving Day, now being referred to as "Brown Thursday." Please no! Thanksgiving Day should remain somewhat sacred even though it is not necessarily a sacred holiday. Let’s just keep calling it Thanksgiving.
At some point, the big-box stores will have to be accountable for luring droves of people through the doors and allowing this annual free for all. There have been deaths in the past and numerous fights this year including a Taser incident and a pepper spray fight.
As you read this, we’ve already had "Cyber Monday," the day when Americans spend $1.5 billion shopping online the Monday following Thanksgiving. Seems a bit more civil.
Don’t get me wrong, all this spending is good for the economy or somebody’s economy, most likely China’s, but the waste is disturbing. I challenge you to recall last year or the year before what you received for Christmas. I can’t.
So, let’s compromise. Cut back on the crazy spending and find a deserving charity to share some of your spending. I like World Vision for international outreach and local ones like the Arkansas Food Bank or the Arkansas Rice Depot. I can’t imagine a bigger travesty than not feeding a hungry child unless it would be fighting over sale merchandise nobody really needs on Black Friday.
Welcome back, Bill
I had a man tell me the other day how much he enjoyed my column but he wasn’t going to buy the paper because it was too expensive and there wasn’t enough Maumelle news. Part of the reason is that "Our Man in Maumelle," Bill Lawson, has been on medical leave. Well, if you looked at the last few issues, you’ll see his byline is back and he is covering more Maumelle news. Welcome back Bill!
Another way to make sure the paper has local news is for you to send it in. Take a look at the front page and there’s an email address for you to send in your stories and photos.
P.S. Don’t forget to make your donation to Adopt-a-VET by Dec. 12.
See you on the Boulevard.
Neal Moore is Chief Creative Officer at Neal Moore Creative, a PR, advertising and marketing consultancy. He has lived in Maumelle over 10 years. If you have a community concern or if you’re just irritated about something contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter, @kneelmore.