When I did my regular food shop this week, I was stunned by a sign outside the supermarket which advised me to ‘set my alarm early’ (5am the time suggested by the digits of a practically neon clock pictured on the ad) and to ‘dress up warm’ in case I had to queue for entry.
I was taken aback, and then remembered footage from last year’s Black Friday – the crush of consumers forcing their way through barely ajar automatic doors, scores of the tech-savvy (and not so savvy) desperate to grab screens bigger than their wallls could support, or tablets that outperformed last week’s model in a not entirely deducible manner.
Is it just me who, witnessing such scenes, feels a barb of shame for Western culture?
My brother in law – a Californian – told me last year that it didn’t even make sense for the UK to ‘do’ Black Friday, as it traditionally comes the day after Thanksgiving (which we don’t really do, unless you count Harvest Festival). It’s a day that Americans and their families gather and thank God for His blessings, on them and their land.
We have a tendency in the West to spend, spend, spend, and I found myself wondering today whether, like Christmas and Easter – and many other occasions of non secular origin – Thanksgiving is another casualty of our money driven culture. It seems to have been gently – lovingly, almost – laid on our consumerist altar. If so, then Black Friday appears as its headstone.