I’ve always thought the name ‘Black Friday’ sounded like a plague or a financial catastrophe. The term actually refers to the tipping point for many retailers — the day when their books go from the red to the black.
For the shopkeeper, this must be a very happy day indeed. For the shopper, however, the day can be one of long lines, human stampedes, and feverish frenzies that cause otherwise sane consumers to go ever-so-slightly berserk.
I recently heard the comment that Americans feel insecure and inadequate because of the constant cultural message that we need to acquire more in order to be happy. I’ve swallowed this hook many times, feeling the buzz of a bargain, the zap of contentment with a new acquisition. But I also recognize the fleeting nature of such satisfaction. In the end, stuff does not fill the soul.
So Black Friday feels to me rather dark, like a shadowy, false road to happiness. I prefer to think of the day after Thanksgiving as White Friday . . . a day for quiet and contemplation, a day to hold the spirit of gratitude just a little longer. After all, there are still plenty of shopping days left until Christmas.
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