HAPPY Black Friday everyone!
Yep, the gluttonous orgy of excess is upon us once more. The American tradition that defies belief is going global. Welcome to the festival of spending that sees people cast out their nearest and dearest for the latest trinket; the celebration of greed that sees people trample over nice old ladies as they suddenly realise they need that electric potato slicer with built-in Wi-Fi.
It’s all fairly laughable, and the YouTube videos of fighting families and fisticuffs in the electronics aisle that inevitably surface following the event make it almost worth it – almost.
It’s the only shopping holiday with its very own death count: 10 deaths, 105 injuries since 2006. Special mention goes to the Target shoppers who stepped over Walter Vance as he lay dying in the aisle. And this is only the damage done in the immediate throes of bargain hunting. The damage done to the planet is on a far more gargantuan scale. Long after the post-bargain buzz has faded, the environmental impacts linger for a lifetime.
Greenpeace found the process involved in producing your sparkly new Christmas frock uses huge amounts of fresh water and pollutes rivers and seas with toxic chemicals, long before it hits the shelves. We are also consuming and trashing clothing at a far higher rate than our planet can handle. Fashion retailers have been speeding up the turnaround of fashion trends since the 1980’s, increasing the rate that we use and throw away clothes – the life cycle of consumer goods shortened by 50 percent between 1992 and 2002.
In a world with such obscene excess, is more ‘stuff’ really what we need? And as the tradition of Black Friday goes global, ‘more’ is all we will get.
I remember when the term Black Friday used to refer to the last Friday before Christmas. It’s the most popular night for office Christmas parties in the UK, making it the busiest night of the year for police and ambulance services who are called in when people get a little too much of the festive spirit. I vote we shirk off the toxic American tradition of consumerism and revert back to this.
As people across America drag their families to spend the dying hours of their Thanksgiving Day standing in the freezing cold waiting for Target to open, you’ve got to wonder, is the thing we’re most thankful for these days merchandise?
** This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of Asian Correspondent