November 26, 2010, - 3:49 pm
Did you do Black Friday . . . er “Diverse Complexion Friday?” By that, I mean, did you get up early (or stay up all night–Walmart specials began at Midnight) and wait in lines for “doorbuster deals”? If you did, what was your biggest bargain? Was it worth getting up so early and standing in long lines, being treated like so much American cattle? Did you go the Black Friday rush and still miss out on what you wanted? It’s my view that Black Friday killed America.
Read about my “experience” on last year’s Black Friday. Swore I wouldn’t do it again . . . but I did, only because my TV recently died, and I wanted to take advantage of a good bargain to replace it, rather than pay the regular high prices. Was it worth it? Not sure. I brought a book and read while I waited. In general, I try to stay away from Black Friday absurdity. Health and sleep are too important. Plus, I look at it as sort of a mindless group think activity to get you to buy cheap stuff you really don’t need or would normally want. And, like most people in this tough economy, I can’t afford to waste money on this stuff that is more marketing-induced want than need.
And the “deals” you are getting aren’t really such deals. Several business and news sources have looked into the “deals,” and those “cheap TVs” are only worth the price you pay for them, which is why they are usually off-brands or previously great names that went bankrupt and were licensed out to the companies that previously used the off-brand names. Polaroid, Emerson, Westinghouse, etc.–these are not the companies that once proudly used these names. The products bearing these names are licensees. While Westinghouse is still in business, it’s not the original Westinghouse. The original Westinghouse Electric Corp. is gone–split up and sold off piece by piece. Westinghouse Electric ceased in 1997. What is now called “Westinghouse” and uses its original crown logo makes cheap products, like what I call “disposable” TVs. It’s just not the Westinghouse you used to know.
Take Emerson. As a kid, I was proudly the first and only kid in my class in the late ’70s/early ’80s to carry around a tiny Emerson portable black and white miniature TV/radio with a 2-inch screen, which I bought with my hard-earned and long-saved baby-sitting money. It cost $200, when $200 was real money. Check out the real Emerson’s website. Today, the site doesn’t list TVs as one of its products. But the 32-inch TVs Walmart sold, today, for $198 are labeled “Emerson.” The name was bought and slapped on by this or that cheap Chinese appliance factory. Polaroid, of land camera fame, long ago went away. But some businessmen got smart and bought the name, to slap on TVs and cameras. This new “Polaroid” is not your dad’s or even your childhood’s Polaroid.
I noticed that, like every other year, most things are made in China, Pakistan, and other hellholes. I looked in the aisles while I waited and couldn’t find a single, “Made in America,” label. And that’s a continuing problem with America: we’ve exported our jobs somewhere else so we can get cheap prices on Black Friday items and similar prices every other day of the year at mass retailers. If only we were more intent on making conditions favorable to Americans producing those items on American soil at reasonably economical prices. If only we were as intent on that . . . as we are to get that cheap flat-screen TV on Black Friday. Sadly, we aren’t.
Is it “just a coincidence” that much of the clothing advertised as Black Friday doorbusters at Walmart is made by a label called, “Faded Glory”? The stuff is also, incidentally, mostly made in China.
We no longer make things. We just consume them. And that can’t last, as we are seeing, economic “recovery” or not. A consumer society eventually dies. It’s just not productive enough to survive. It’s like illegal alien labor: we can do without it and while the food might be more expensive, we’ll be better off with higher wages and less taxes for the services and entitlements they consumed. We can do without these cheap goods, and if the jobs were kept in America, things would be dramatically different and more rosy in our economic condition today. And I’m part of the problem by doing my thing, today, on Black Friday.
What are your thoughts on Black Friday? Are you a participant . . . or somebody who justifiably ridicules the participants from the warmth and comfort of your home and bed (or work), the day after Thanksgiving?
Tags: Black Friday, Black Friday killed America, cheap, China, consumer society, Emerson, Faded Glory, manufacturing, Polaroid, Westinghouse