While the holiday season might fill some of us with memories of warm cocoa, fireplaces and family members yelling at each other, we can all agree the most important part of this time of year is Black Friday. On the day after Thanksgiving, just as the sun rises over Bermuda, Americans go shopping.
We go shopping for three main reasons, all of which are worth celebrating.
First, we go shopping on Black Friday because we absolutely cannot resist a sale. Now some people are on a budget and need the deals to deliver a bountiful Christmas to their children and families, but most of us just love buying cheap things we don’t need.
It’s a truly American moment. Something I would never buy for $25 is irresistible at $14.99. It’s a case study in supply and demand, but also in irrational consumers who value getting something for less than it’s worth.
We can’t get enough of the Black Friday sales and we don’t seem to mind that retailers are robbing us blind by baiting-and-switching us 50 or 60 times before breakfast.
We also go shopping on Black Friday because it’s a cultural experience like no other. It’s the Super Bowl of human behavior and people watching.
Standing in long lines at 3 a.m. to buy gifts for people we barely like while judging everyone else who is there for that exact reason. It’s shameful and a delight all
wrapped into one. It’s the KFC Double Down of holidays.
It’s a sport. You stroll around like a crazy person and tell stories to people you’d normally never talk to just to share in the experience of the day. Plus, the nap you
take after Black Friday shopping is the most restful few hours of the year – worth it for that reason alone.
Finally, we go shopping on Black Friday because it’s patriotic. A lot of people mocked President Bush when he told us to go shopping after 9/11, but it was actually excellent public policy. Go shopping, help the economy.
To get the economy roaring again during tough times, we need to go out and spend money on things we don’t need for people we kind of like, because it’s the best way to get our friends and neighbors back to work.
Buy that TV, splurge on that remote control car, and heck, even buy those ugly sweaters no one wears unless the person who bought it for you is visiting.
Now is the time to be patriots. We don’t have a draft and we don’t need riveters; what we need are shoppers. Uncle Sam wants you to go shopping. Pile the extra items into the cart and make America a better place.
Black Friday is one of those great days in America where you can save money, be part of a cultural phenomenon and do right by your country. How many times a year can you do all three of those things at once?
So set your alarms, dress warm and wear comfortable shoes. This is the year you’re going to get that iPad for 60 percent off. This is the year you’re finally going to see someone challenge another shopper to a fight over something that literally costs $12. This is the year we’re going to shop until the unemployment rate drops.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, but more importantly, go out and buy stuff. Your country needs you.