Let America keep its terrible tradition to itself
By Duncan Fingarson, Columnist
The day after American Thanksgiving, commonly referred to as Black Friday, is marketed as the busiest shopping day of the year. It’s the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season, and the cause of more than a few injuries. Blackfridaydeathcount.com catalogues the various incidents going back to 2006, reporting 111 injuries and 10 deaths directly related to Black Friday. Recently, Canada has adopted the tradition of offering huge sales on this day as well.
My question is: Why? Why would we want to adopt a tradition responsible for traffic jams, trampling deaths, and gunfights over parking spaces? The obvious answer is money, of course. Retailers in Canada started offering Black Friday deals within the last few years, in an effort to keep Canadian shoppers on this side of the border. It’s an understandable motivation.
The day, though, doesn’t have any special significance for Canada. In the United States, it’s the day after Thanksgiving. That’s when the mall Santas come out in force, and everyone starts thinking about Christmas. If you want to do your shopping early (which you should) then going out on the day with all the sales makes sense. In Canada, however, Thanksgiving is over and done with. We finished that back in October, and the holiday decorations came out of the bloody woodwork on November 1. Why not have the sales then?
Canada does not need to do everything the US does. I’d be perfectly happy not subscribing to the mindless consumerism that Black Friday represents. I certainly don’t do my Christmas shopping at Walmart, no matter how good their sales are. Not everyone, though, is like me.
As much as I’d like to see Black Friday go away, it’s probably not going to disappear any time soon. The lure of sales is a siren song too sweet for many to resist. I like saving money (we all do) but I don’t think that the day of the biggest sales of the year needs to happen on a specific Friday determined by another country’s holiday schedule. I would be distressed to see the sort of violence that happens on the day in America migrating north, though I don’t think this is overly likely.
Still, I’d much rather stay home on Black Friday. I would be more encouraged to shop on the day if it didn’t have stupidly huge crowds of bargain hunters thronging the stores in mindless hordes. I say, send the so-called biggest shopping day of the year back where it belongs: The hell from whence it came.