Black Friday has become such an grandiose event that it almost entirely overshadows Thanksgiving. It’s most definitely a contradiction of values: On Thursday we lovingly spend time with our families being grateful for the things we have; on Friday we damn-near pillage our towns, combating strangers while screaming “Mine! Mine! Mine!” Oh, what a glorious holiday.
There was a time in my life where I participated in the Black Friday shenanigans. It was 2006, and the Nintendo Wii had just been released. I was still at that age when I felt playing video games was something to be proud of (my god, I’ve come a long way), and I was determined to have one of these amazing systems.
A friend of mine had talked with the local Toys R’ Us a few days prior and he was assured that they would be receiving a small shipment of Wii consoles on Black Friday (I bet you already know how this story ends). So Thanksgiving night, we wait in line with your stereotypical Black Friday crowd until the store opens at 5:00am. We scurry in with the other mindless consumers and rush to the electronics section where, wouldn’t you know it, they didn’t receive any shipment and hadn’t planned on receiving one. My friend located the manager whom had misinformed him, proceeded to grab the nearest Nerf Foam Bat, and gave him a harsh lesson on customer service.
I was disappointed, but more so in the fact I wasted my time, energy, and health (did I mention this was on a very cold Oklahoma night?) on something as stupid as a video game system. As I trudged out of the store, I observed everyone running, screaming, engaging in social warfare over toys, games, and other meaningless crap. It reminded me of the quote from Fight Club, attributed to Tyler Durden: “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate, so we can buy shit we don’t need.”
Even now, with the explosion of online shopping, people still line up outside these brick and mortar stores to fight over who gets a Pretty Pretty Princess doll (or whatever kids are wanting these days). Some even brandish firearms to get what they want. Despite all the craziness, Black Friday has become an American tradition that is here to stay; our annual Running of the Bulls, if you will. So I regress to accept and enjoy it from here on out, but only from the comfort of my living room.
Okay, so my main reason for wanting the Wii was to play The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. I’d been a fan of the Zelda franchise for a while, and I was obsessed with playing this new edition. So sure enough, come middle of December, I again find myself camped outside of a damn Wal-Mart freezing my ass off, waiting for the Wii. Only this time, I got one! I played Twilight Princess straight through, I don’t even think I stopped to eat, sleep, or … anything. I may have caught pneumonia due to spending a night outside in freezing weather, but damn it, I got the Wii and beat the game! My life was complete. … for about three hours afterwards, and then I completely forgot about it, and never really played the Wii again. As I type this, Durden’s words echo in my head: “…buy shit we don’t need.”