2012-11-23 – I don’t get Black Friday.
I don’t get shopping in the first place. I stay away. When I need something, I try to get a good price, but I have found that being first in line often gets me the worst price. When I get my iPhone 5 of Samsung Galaxy S III, I’m pretty sure I won’t be paying the price I would have paid on the first day. I can wait. Sure there might be some sales that the first-in-line will get, but I pretty much don’t want that stuff. A great price on stuff I don’t want? What’s that about?
In my life, the best Black Friday experience is available to the first customers absolutely free. And that is staying home. This year it’s a little uncomfortable because were in the midst of our remodeling. But it’s better than heading out to Best Buy. And don’t even talk to me about Walmart. What could you possibly want at Walmart that couldn’t wait. (Sadly, for my lefty friends, I am unable to boycott Walmart in support of their workers. You can’t boycott a place if you’re not going there in the first place.)
Another problem I have with Black Friday is the name. Black Tuesday was the day the stock market crashed kicking off the Great Depression. So why would you name a “festive” day Black Friday? Obviously the people doing the naming didn’t make the connection. Their ears didn’t hear a negative in having a black day.
I do get that Black Friday is supposedly the day that retailer’s go into the black and this is supposed to inspire some sort of patriotic shopping spree. This is supposed to be good. But when the term first surfaced, merchants objected to using a negative term to describe their busiest day of the year. The term was originally meant in a negative way to describe the traffic and congestion of the day.
The word “black” has a weirdly ambiguous meaning. You wouldn’t think so. After all, when we talk about ambiguity, we normally talk about gray areas. Things that are definite are “black and white.” But early English used the forerunner of the word black to mean pale. (Swart was used for the color black, as in swarthy.) This is not surprising, considering that many European languages use a form of the word black to mean white! Blanco in Spanish, for instance. We even have “blank” in English that has the sense of colorlessness (if not white). And then, of course, there’s blanch.
So I’m calling today Blank Friday.
For me, this has a special meaning, for today is the day that I begin writing the songs for the musical based on my novel Cain’s Mother-in-Law. At this moment, the page is blank except for the heading “Act One” and the title of the first song “Alone.”
As I finish writing today’s post, I am sitting at Starbucks sipping on a tall (i.e., short) black coffee. I’m here because the Internet hasn’t yet been restored after the work on our floors was completed (yesterday). So I’m at Starbucks so I can make the connection and post this. But then I’m heading home. My mind is far from blank. My toe is already tapping. The page won’t be blank for long.