Friday, November 25, 2011

Post-Thanksgiving Turkey-Fueled Rant about the Dangers of Free-Market Capitalism

Ahh, thanksgiving.  It's one of those few exceptional times during the year in America where we can come together with our families and indulge in our own cultural traditions.  Some families watch football, some play football.  Some fight over who gets to break the wishbone.  Almost everyone is in a turkey coma.

There are very few real secular traditions in American culture.  And thanksgiving is probably the last remaining bastion of real tradition that we have left.  I love the holiday, and I think the only people who don't are turkey lovers.  And I don't mean "lovers of eating turkey".  I mean people who marry turkeys.  Yeah, Them.  Weirdos.

But the great American free market knows that people are enjoying themselves and seems to want a piece of it.  Because every single year, the openings of their stores encroach more and more on our celebrations.

Take, for example, Target, which opens its doors this year at midnight on Black Friday.  Yes, you read that right.  Midnight.  Toys R Us?  9pm.  NINE PM.  Most people who read this will think, "Who wants to shop at 9pm after eating an entire gaggle of bearded geese?"  And you're right.  Seriously, who wants to do this?  I really want to know.  Think about it - you have to either cut your celebration short, or start earlier, or whatever to get some sleep so that you can make your way down to your target to get a $350 40'' TV.

Simply put, that means that for people who will show up at midnight on Black Friday, shopping is more important than family.

Ok, but what about the counterargument?  Yes, we might be moving our celebrations for shopping, but it's for a good cause - buying things cheaply (especially during a recession) so that we can spread joy on Christmas.

Believe me - I get the whole, buying things cheaply deal.  But if your budget is so tight that you have to get up at midnight to go and buy $350 TVs, perhaps you should reconsider spending so much money in the first place?  You know what they say, buy one, get one half off isn't really a deal unless you planned on buying two to begin with.  Otherwise, it's just a ploy to get you to spend more money.

And spreading joy during Christmas through material possessions?  Look, I'm all for buying awesome stuff for your kids and making them happy, but why compromise one holiday for another simply for savings?  Personally, I'd rather pay a little more if it means I get to celebrate Thanksgiving normally, and without nap breaks so I can get to Target at 12 midnight.

*steps off soapbox*

But hey, the great thing about America is you're free to do whatever you want.  Just don't come crawling to me when you don't have any money because you chose to forgo American tradition for what companies WANT you to think is American tradition.

Just another reason why the free market is a bad idea.


  1. Making tots happy is fun for Christmas. We do buy for the grandkids, and for my two grown kids and their spouses, but our favorite thing is the toy shops "Toys For Tots" drives. But we don't do this at midnight on Black Friday. I really have no interest in shopping or Christmas for that matter. My daughter in law makes wonderful cookies, and treats and fills baskets with charming gifts for families. More fun and a lot less money. It has reached a point that enjoying the season is more about spending time and such than being a "consumer".

  2. Good for you. The only thing I bought that weekend was a dryer [which I was pissed about, because who wants to spend money on APPLIANCES?].

    Although I do have to admit - buy one, get one 50%? I have a hard time resisting.

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