November 26, 2010, - 3:49 pm

Did You Do Black Friday? Black Friday Killed America

By Debbie Schlussel

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?


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35 Responses

Well, we no longer have a choice about purchasing certain things since we no longer make much in the way of consumer goods. Even “High Tech” goods are long gone, as shown by IBM’s exit from the personal computer market some years ago. Thinkpad laptops are now made by Lenovo and manufactured in China. The only “American” contribution is an illegal alien unloading it from a truck pallet.

Worry01 on November 26, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Debbie, agreed. What TV did you buy?

I have a Sony Hi Def LCD TV… nice pic but I live in area without clear free TV reception so I can’t exactly take advantage of the switchover to Hi Def that happened last year.

And you’re right… most stuff is made in China. Good luck for ANY American-made manufactured item in your local box store – or for that matter, online.

NormanF on November 26, 2010 at 4:00 pm

I’ll add one more thing: Debbie would like to buy American and so would I, but we really have no choice at all in the matter – and the few products still made here are no longer reasonably economically priced. We could try to start producing what we need here at home, but sadly we won’t. Those days are now long gone.

NormanF on November 26, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Samsung and Sony are the way to go for TVs.

I did some shopping today, but that was because of things I really needed right away like new sunglasses for driving, or groceries that I couldn’t buy yesterday.

I don’t like to see jobs exported either, although American companies do have a responsibility to match or surpass the quality of foreign companies if that is to stop happening.

Little Al on November 26, 2010 at 4:07 pm

We never shop the day after Thanksgiving. There is nothing that would induce me to get out in the traffic, crowds and the long lines, just to BUY STUFF! Horrid idea!

We give few “BOUGHT IN THE STORE” gifts at Christmas anyway. We celebrate by inviting friends for lunches or dinners. We share hospitality and home cooked food. To our family Christmas is NOT a SPEND-O-RAMA event! Moderation and thoughtfulness is the main idea in any gifts we give.

I often give the grandkids clothing which they need and board games to encourage family togetherness. Hard to find MADE IN THE USA, but I TRY!

I also pay for the youngsters music lessons for a year, sports equipment and dues for educational clubs like 4H or Boy Scouts. Two of my sons were Eagle Scouts and I encourage their sons by paying for uniforms, camping gear and fees for the camping trips.

We bought tickets for the community ballet company’s “NUTCRACKER” for all the little ones this year and we will go as a family. Only the 2 toddlers are not coming this time…. next year perhaps!

We also give the little ones books that encourage reading. All my grandkids could read well before they even set foot in a school. My six year old first grader, grandson reads at the 6th grade level. I buy used children’s books in good condition all the time for the little ones from charity run stores.

Too much stuff made by the Chinese is given at Christmas time. All I can think about when I see the “made in China” label is that someplace in China some SLAVE or SLAVE-LIKE worker is being worked half to death.

That does NOT say, MERRY CHRISTMAS” to me.

Sewsalot on November 26, 2010 at 4:13 pm

And also…. we are boycotting Campbell Soup, Heize Foods, GE and NBC this year. Those companies are into funding LEFT-WING nutcases to get my money or my attention!

Sewsalot on November 26, 2010 at 4:17 pm

The Chinese now produce an array of quality stuff that used to be non-existent there thirty years ago. They are now an exporting nation. What do we export?

If we’re not competing with them, we shouldn’t blame them. They work hard, they produce stuff for the Western markets people want to buy and they earn from us. Their Communist regime notwithstanding, China has traditionally been a nation of entrepreneurs.

So we have to look at ourselves and ask why we are buying from them when we could be buying from ourselves.

NormanF on November 26, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    “If we’re not competing with them, we shouldn’t blame them. They work hard, they produce stuff for the Western markets people want to buy and they earn from us. ”

    China produces real stuff while America produces American Idol and DWTS contestants.

    ari-free on November 28, 2010 at 2:21 am

I worked 10 Black Fridays. ’nuff said.

cirrus1701 on November 26, 2010 at 4:27 pm

I see lots of people out buying things that their children need. like pjs, clothes, socks, ect… I only shop at local black Friday sales that I know are experienced enough to handle an influx of customers. I won’t stand in line at Walmart and most of their sale items are available online. I purchased a few tool items half off so the boys won’t be taking mine.
I did try a wonderful item this week that I picked up new at a garage sale. They are called Get a grip before you slip, by a company called DuNorth. Unfortunately they are made in China. But they are a device that slips right over your shoes or boots and gives you traction for walking on ice. I think these would be great not only for the person who wants to get our and walk in the snow but to keep in your car for an emergency, or for seniors. You can’t even tell that you have them on and it will save you from breaking your hip and finding out what a sham Obamacare is.
Most of the junk that is bought this Christmas will be in someone’s yard sale for pennies on the dollar. That is when I buy. And you can still find American made items at yard and estate sales!

Bill on November 26, 2010 at 5:36 pm

I slept in this morning and woke up leisurely.Made some coffee,kicked back and put my feet up on my computer desk and sipped my coffee while I browsed some of the Black Friday deals online.

I actually have everything I want already.

I don’t watch TV,so I could care less about flat screen TVs.
Besides,there’s always Craigslist or eBay or Pawn shops or yard sales

ebayer on November 26, 2010 at 5:52 pm

I hope you don’t mind me posting a link, its a real negative view of black friday. I don’t do black friday but for those that do I don’t really see a problem with it. I just wish the sheeple would be as into current events as they are the newest gadget.

tyler on November 26, 2010 at 6:04 pm

I don’t do Black Friday or any other “Bye it while its cheap” promotion deals for the reasons you stated above. The “deals” are always off brands or as in computers, they are the basement variety stock…No memory,etc… Always remember the saying…”A diamond ring for 10 cents ain’t worth a dime.”

wolf2012 on November 26, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Miss Schlussel, Et Alii:

I do almost all of my shopping and financial transactions on the Internet.

That way, there’s no hassle.

I would NEVER go out in public on “Black Friday”!

No, Ma’am, I am enjoying my retirement, loafing here in my comfortable apartment.

There ain’t no good reason for me to jeopardize my treasured four wheel drive pickup truck in all that madness.

Thank you.

John Robert Mallernee
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Gulfport, Mississippi 39507

John Robert Mallernee on November 26, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    I agree that the sales aren’t worth the trouble. My parents actually hit them every year. I like to slowly buy stuff starting before halloween. Online is the way to go. All the mind control that goes on for the black friday is kind of insulting and strange. I went one year about 5 yrs ago or so. I’m not a people person so it was even worse for me. Never again. The Westland Mall is not what it used to be anyway as far as clientell.

    samurai on November 26, 2010 at 8:32 pm

I went out today and made my purchases-everything made in the USA. I purchased an M-1 Carbine that was on Black Friday sale for $699. They were selling well. Mine was made by Rockola in 1943… I then went and purchase three cases of Mobile 1 Synthetic oil for $4 a quart from Pep Boys. A good Black Friday deal, and all made here in the USA!

eds on November 26, 2010 at 7:43 pm

i don’t buy s**t. well, yeah, i buy food, usually the generic stuff when it’s on sale. but, really? i’d be happiest living in a pre-owned airstream trailer on the high desert of some g-d-forsaken southwestern state, dining upon barbecued iguana and staring at the brilliant stars for entertainment. hey, you can see trouble coming for miles around and the climate’s great!

Gratuitous Slapchop on November 26, 2010 at 10:04 pm

I never do black Friday, never will.

sharon on November 27, 2010 at 12:32 am

I never stand in such lines. If I need anything during the holidays, then I shop. I still have the (Sony) TV that I had 10 years ago, and haven’t changed to plasma or LCD, and nor do I have Blu-ray. I rarely shop, I just try & save so that my kid will have enough when he graduates.

Of course, while being a consumer society will sink you, not being a consumer society will do the same. If everyone just sat on their money, like I do, all the businesses that make (or buy) things won’t have peeps to sell to. But what to do – movies ain’t exciting, TV channels generally ain’t worth viewing (maybe a bit of HGTV every now & then), and so just spending tons on a 40″ TV is meaningless, if the content is vapid. Same for Blu-ray, and no need to get PSPs or Wii or X-Box – I generally not only get great PC games, but actually just play my games online.

Hopefully, somebody will invent solar powered ACs, cars and cookers, and that could possibly spur a market. Hope those won’t be off-loaded to China. And in any case, China is sooner or later going to lose its one advantage – price, as their products become pricier.

Infidel Pride on November 27, 2010 at 12:33 am

No Black Friday for me, never have and never will. My year old
Philips tv set was “assembled in Mexico” but the components were probably made in China. Don’t know how you can be a hypocrite when there is no choice for most things nowadays.

Daniel K on November 27, 2010 at 7:44 am

Dear Deb,

I took my wife’s good ol’ made-in-the-USA Ford Crown Victoria to the Ford dealership in Jasper, Texas to have it serviced. The service and customer relations were, as always, excellent, and the coffee was fresh.

While waiting I continued reading the Everyman anthology of George Orwell’s essays. Nice man, Orwell, and a great essayist, even though he got so many things wrong.

In the evening I did join a herd at a football game, but I know the kids on the field and in the band, so I was there to show that metaphorical flag.

Mack Hall on November 27, 2010 at 10:12 am

The real deals are on-line. No one should be out there fighting the idiot crowds. There were 42″ name brand plasma TV’s out there for under $300…you just have to know where to look…be savy buyer and don’t get dragged into the the shop and drop routinge of going to a Mall!!!!

Steve on November 27, 2010 at 10:30 am

We’ve been corrupted into a society of “consumers”. It’s made us intentionally weak and stupid and dependent. Quoting the recording artist PINK is not something I’ve ever done before, but fits here …

we go where we like,
we got over time,
we get paid to rattle our chains

we go in the back,
paint our money black,
spend it on the enemy

Make a body work,
make a begger hurt,
sell me something big and untamed

we know how to pray,
party everyday,
make our desolation look plain

riding in a rut,
till the powers cut,
we dont even have a good name

A mercantile, consumer nation is not what our Founders had in mind.

Jack on November 27, 2010 at 10:41 am

There is nothing I want or need that would entice me to shop with all the idiots out there!

michiganmom on November 27, 2010 at 11:07 am

Aside from working a 14 hour-shift that ended only 2 hours before lots of Black Friday fun started, I’m largely nocturnal, so the hour wasn’t a problem for me, and that much work tends to keep me awake a while, so I simply went shopping for “normal” stuff, bought all of two “doorbusters”, and scored a gift card for spending $100 on stuff I was buying anyway. And while the line was long (I showed up 10 min before store opening- I’m not THAT crazy), my only complaint is that the people immediately in front and behind me were smoking.

And to be honest, it wasn’t until I was in Target that I started to understand that Black Friday shopping is essentially suburban big game hunting. For some people, being one of the 10 to score that $399 iPad or that super cheap 50″ flat screen is quite like bagging a lion or an elephant. But the unbridled greed is definitely unsettling.

Robert on November 27, 2010 at 1:58 pm

I went to Target for a 1 terrabyte harddrive for $70. It was a good deal, but when you add the time of waking up early in the morning then going to work in a customer service oriented field, it just wasn’t worth it. Lesson learned. Kids if you are reading this, in the future, don’t try this with your parents, let them sleep!

Joshua McColm on November 27, 2010 at 2:45 pm

I disagree about the Target deal. They also have a 2TB External HD for $69 that has a Caviar Black drive inside! What’s so special about that?? Well the Caviar Black is one of THE best hard drives right now and sells for $180 at NewEgg! IMHO that was the hottest Black Friday deal this year.

Erik on November 27, 2010 at 5:43 pm

I too want to get that 2TB HD at Target — said it was still in stock at a store nearby. Went yesterday to Target and got a $19 toaster oven. Went around 9am — weren’t too many ppl — just lucky they had one more toaster left. Went to Home Depot and got 2 shop vacs for 28.88 each and the 99cent poinsettias — not sure if shop vac is US made, but many things are in HD. I noticed that the sales are not just for Friday, but for 2 days which is nicer. I may also get the Wii board for 67 at Target — not sure if they are still in stock…

Jennifer on November 27, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Part of the problem is, it’s not just that we have shipped all our manufacturing jobs overseas. It’s that, thanks to the EPA, this country is not allowed to make TV’s and other electronics– which I’m sure the EPA uses as much as we do; printers, computers, and other electronic goods. They just don’t want us to make them in America.

Oh the days of Philco, Quasar, RCA, etc.

The whole “Black Friday” thing escapes me. If retailers peg their whole sales year on one day by lowering prices. Why not have these prices all year? I know, I know, then they can’t generate the hype making Thanksgiving Day secondary. The real holiday is Black Friday, apparently.

John on November 27, 2010 at 11:46 pm

Bought a normally $60 Xbox 360 game for $30.
Bought a pair of jeans normally $30 for $15

Didn’t get up early. Didn’t do doorbusters. Slept in and wandered in at my own leisure. Went to 4 stores that were all next door to each other.

jarod on November 28, 2010 at 12:20 am

Well, our old Panasonic is ready to hit the dust so we’re getting a new 55″ Vizio TV. That company is an American success story.

ari-free on November 28, 2010 at 2:18 am

Haven’t you heard? Neoconservatives (yes, I do realize that some perceive this term as anti-Semitic, but I know of no other that fits) support globalism and illegal immigration. George W. Bush, George H. W. Bush, Wall Street Journal, National Review … didn’t you get the memo? (The sad part is that much of the anti-globalism crowd is led by, well, anti-Semitic Pat Buchanan types.)

Gerald on November 28, 2010 at 11:36 pm

My husband and I went to Sears to buy a dryer as ours died two weeks ago. We both wondered what we would encounter shopping on “Black Friday” but we had no problems. Easy to park the car, went straight to appliances and within a minute or two a sales rep appeared. Explained what we wanted and what we owned and he showed us a model that replaced the one that we currently have. We okayed the deal and were out of there in less than 30 minutes. BTW, we went shopping in the early afternoon. No need to “get up with the rooster” to go shopping…ever!

SWQ on November 29, 2010 at 10:28 am

Debbie you have no understanding of economics. First if all people are better off by buying cheap goods from china. Then they have more money to spend at other retailers that are local. Plus when you buy that tv at Walmart the profits don’t go all back to china. Walmart paid for that tv so you could buy it. That creates jobs for Americans in their stores. What if other countries did something so silly as buy on India or buy only Brazilian? Coca cola and mcdonalds and US companies like that would go out of business. You need to brush up on your Economics and google search the fallacy of “buying American”

J: Clearly, my understanding of economics is far better than yours. Buying cheap goods at places like Walmart creates only the lowest-paying, service types of jobs. It does not create jobs that will sustain the economy and raise America’s standard of living. It creates the kinds of jobs that lower it. When more things are made in America, much more of the money remains in America for spending and re-investment and more Americans have more money and better jobs. When all of those jobs in manufacturing are sent to China, America becomes a consumer economy, which cannot be sustained. Show me one purely or mostly consumer society that has lasted. Greece, anyone? DS

John on November 24, 2012 at 8:12 am

I recently read a terrifying stat on employment in America. FORTY PERCENT of all jobs are now in the service sector!
That means the weakest pay, benefits and virtually no public
holidays to spend with family and friends. Combine this with
a government bankrupting us, weakening the dollar, and
strangling growth, and we have a recipe for an incredibly
bleak future.

Nicole on November 24, 2012 at 10:32 pm

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