Black Friday as a Spectacle of Rampant Materialism or of Economic Malaise


The phrase “Black Friday” originally derived from the fact that the sales on the extended weekend following Thanksgiving set the tone for the holiday shopping season and thereby determine whether a store will be profitable for the year—or finish in the “black.”

Last year, stores began opening on Thanksgiving Day itself ostensibly so that shoppers can get a jump on the Black Friday crowds, even though Black Friday itself was initially rationalized as a way for shoppers to get a jump on the crowded stores during the Christmas season.

But the phrase “Black Friday” has increasingly come to suggest the dark side of American prosperity, a sort of deranged exercise in concentrated commercialism, in unconstrained materialism.

Indeed, the day has become an internationally reported event that is not doing anything to enhance the image of the U.S. abroad.

What follows is what the British newspaper The Guardian reported last year:

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