Even though it's always a bittersweet experience to spend a holiday like Thanksgiving away from one's family and sometimes there's a bit of homesickness while being away, one thing that I did not miss was the whole Black Friday mess of consumerism and greed.
For me, the day after Thanksgiving is the antithesis of the Thanksgiving spirit. One can't turn on the tv or the radio in the US without being bombarded by advertising for store sales. In the past, stores were closed on Thanksgiving Day so families can spend time together. However, stores would also start with crazy sales at 3 a.m., for example, the day after, or more stores are opening the day of Thanksgiving too. Yuck. Can't we have 1-2 days a year of no shopping?
People have started to set up tents outside the stores, sometimes days in advance, in hopes of snagging some deals. Once the stores open, sometimes pandemonium erupts; people have been trampled as the crowd rushed in. In an equally ugly situation, fights have broken out among customers to grab the last of an item.
I thought that, having moved to Germany, I'd be away from such things. However, this year I've noticed extensive advertising for "Black Friday" or even in some cases, "Black Week" (which is not really what we'd call it though). I've seen it in Germany and in France, too, when I visited Colmar for the weekend. Check out the photo below from a Colmar storefront.
Ick. It's an American invention that I would happily do without in Europe.
A bit of irony: when I emailed myself this photo, I tried to type "Black Friday" on my phone and instead ended up with, thanks to autocorrect, "Blah Friday," which totally fits!