Is Black Friday a Scam?

Black Friday 2011 is only a few weeks away and you can probably even bet somewhere in Las Vegas on how much retailers will make this year however is Black Friday a scam on the American people?

For most ordinary folks the attraction of saving a few dollars on a new computer or a few hundred bucks on a new TV is quite appealing, however isn’t this the whole irony of Black Friday 2011?

Most ordinary folks can’t afford to buy a new TV nor do they really need a new computer. Let’s face it, the Apple iPhone you bought a year ago pretty much works the same as the new one and the few websites you actually spend any time on load just as fast with the computer you already have. Now, if you can afford to buy one go for it, however if you have $5,000 in credit card debt already why make it $6,000? Remember, you should learn how to save money before you can spend it.

Black Friday 2011 is November 25th but retailers started pushing Black Friday sales a couple weeks ago with many already releasing their Black Friday ad flyers, announcing midnight opening store hours and every day there seems to be another pre-Black Friday sale. What exactly do they want us to buy, everything?

There is no doubt a collective holiday to bring everybody together and tempt our insatiable need to get a deal is good but how much is enough?

The single ray of humanity shown so far has come from Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn who recently told attendees at a conference in San Diego that he felt terrible about having to ask employees to come in Thanksgiving day night to prepare for a midnight opening but it was necessary to compete with Target, Walmart and other major retailers who committed their employee’s holiday to working. He seemed quite sincere, I certainly hope he sells more computers.

Why is Black Friday important?

Jobs. That’s really about it. The more toys or electronics or a store can sell the better the numbers and the more people keep their jobs and the economy improves. Well, that’s the story in an imaginary world. The root of the current situation in America is not jobs, its debt.

We are a nation of debt, a nation which is basically bankrupt, a nation of more and more people looking for apartment rentals, a nation of obesity, a nation of medical bills gone wild and more. We are birth parents to some of the brightest people in the world yet collectively we continue spiraling downward. Obama may have promised change but (whether you are a supporter or not) it’s impossible to believe he even has a fair chance of ever having that “presidential moment” since his days have to be pre-occupied with trying to get parties to agree with one another while they are more interested in how to jockey for the next round of elections.

Should Black Friday disappear?

Of course not. We need holidays like Black Friday for the economy (and for our souls) however doesn’t it make you wonder what could happen if we put the same effort into finding food for the homeless or low cost health insurance for the uninsured than finding a sweater on sale?

Would I call Black Friday a scam?

A free market is all about competing so from a retailer’s point of view I think its great stores can convince people into spending money day after day in November. However, from a moral point of view the amount of time, energy and money invested into advertising and anticipating extended Black Friday sales are simply ways for us to avoid dealing with our real problems.

Maybe next year retailers can find ways to promote “Save the Deficit Wednesday” or “Fix the Foreclosure Mess Tuesday” or “Insure Americans Saturday”. You never know, throw a $99 computer on sale and we may just wake up the next day out of this mess.

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