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George Parker: how Thanksgiving became ‘Black Friday’

Unknown-5In case you missed it, today is Thanksgiving in the US, which is one of the very few days workers get the day off with pay, unless you’re in retail, but more on that in a moment.

As I have written in the past, Corporate America has become masterful at creating “Faux Holidays” which are not really holidays, but excuses to dress up and spend lots of money on shit you don’t really need… Think Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Bring your kids to work day, Work a day for free day. It’s a brilliant scam, ‘cos with so many unemployed, part time or in minimum wage jobs, no one want to be seen as trouble maker.

Anyway, here we are at Thanksgiving, one of the few US holidays that hasn’t been transferred to the rest of the world. I mean why would Britain want to celebrate the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, when they were a bunch of miserable sods we were glad to see the back of? But in the final analysis, it doesn’t matter what label you put on it, a holiday is all about selling shit to naïve consumers.

I am shocked… Shocked, I say, to read about all fuss and money Brits now blow at Halloween, what the fuck is wrong with Guy Fawkes? However, the biggest one for retail sales in the US is undoubtedly, Thanksgiving. Or, to be more accurate, “Black Friday” which is the day after Thanksgiving.

This is when the monster sales take place, and cretinous consumers queue through the night to stampede through the doors at opening. People have been killed in the rush, fights break out, and armed security guards patrol the aisles. It is every man, woman and child for themselves.

Only now, retailers have taken the ultimate step and are extending the sales to Thanksgiving Day itself, which means they won’t have to do Black Friday anymore, right? Wrong… They are still doing Black Friday and I’ll make a bet people will queue through the night for it and kill each other in the rush for bargains.

I am seriously beginning to doubt the word’s of dear old David… “The consumer isn’t a moron, she’s your wife.” Not on Black Friday mate.

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About George Parker

George Parker has spent 40 years on Madison Avenue. He’s won Lions, CLIOs, EFFIES, and the David Ogilvy Award.
His blog is adscam.typepad.com, which is required reading for those looking for a gnarly view of the world’s second oldest profession.” His latest book, Confessions of a Mad Man, makes the TV show Mad Men look like Sesame Street.
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