Friday, November 23, 2012
What kind of cultural impulse creates Black Friday madness when hundreds of thousands of people line up to assault stores? One can chalk it up to "everyone wants a bargain" but it is more than that. Tens of thousands wait in line all night as if trying to score tickets for a rock concert. Retailers fan the publicity and the media go along, reporting the gear-up each year as if a major news event. The curious part of all this is that one can shop as easily and probably as cheaply online now. There is no reason to get out the sleeping bag and don two pairs of gloves and a sweater cap. But, people still do. It is a rite of passage apparently and curiously American. I'm baffled because I've never had an interest in shopping frenzy, and I'm a lost cause for retailers. But, let the cash registers ring and annoying loops of Christmas music repeat.