Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Black Friday: An Overbaked Corporate Concept

Perhaps it's fitting after all that Americans created a new holiday which celebrates both their insatiable need to consume as well as the corporations which drive, and profit by, that desire. Black Friday, which entered the mass media lexicon only a few years ago, is as closely watched as the third race in the Triple Crown, yet it's a pathetic stumbling spectacle.

The question that any average citizen should be asking is this; why should I care? The answer? You shouldn't. Yet the media, desperate to rehash every story they did the year before, (did you know that Pointsettias can be poisonous to cats!)hauls out Black Friday specifically because it has that "horse race" metaphor going for it. As we all know, they treat coverage of political issues the same way. Forget the issues; let's concentrate on the polling numbers! Who's going up, who's going down!

Of course, there is the side of this issue which relates to corporate profits. "If Company Q doesn't get some big sales on the Friday after Thanksgiving, they may not make their numbers for the year." is how it goes. Again, should you care? From where I sit, no. First of all, there is nothing you can do to help or hinder Company X's gross sales, unless you go there and buy 2500 plasma screen televisions. Even that will only be a blip on the screen. This simply isn't your problem or mine. Hell, even if you work at the highest levels of Company X, you probably couldn't make a difference, since most company management don't listen to the best and brightest on their staff -- they listen to Wall Street.

Ah, Wall Street. It didn't hold back the marauders when it was first erected and it certainly hasn't stopped the modern version from picking the pockets of most Americans. If there is any reason for the Average Joe to care about Black Friday, it's because he is, no doubt, invested in Wall Street via his 401k plan -- and thus must care about how well Company X does. In fact, he may feel compelled to rush off to Company X to buy a 84" plasma TV just to help his investment, even though he'd rather shop at his friend's store down the strett.

Yes kids, it's a vicious cycle....and I don't know about you, but I don't think it deserves its own holiday!