It upsets me when people pass around Walmart videos and make sneering jokes about Black Friday shoppers.
Because what they're really saying is that they're superior to "those" people. You know, the poors. The "stupid" people who line up the night before to get in the door and get those $20 DVD players (or whatever the hot present is this year.) Yes, it's about materialism and consumerism on steroids, and of course it's not a good thing.
I have never been that poor, that I would stand in line to get a bargain. And I've never been one to go overboard on Christmas. When my kids were little, I bought them a bunch of used toys and cleaned them up. They never knew the difference. And if I was really, really broke, I gave people a lottery ticket. Or a high-quality chocolate bar with a card. Some years, I still just wrap a book I really enjoyed and give it to a friend. No big deal.
Someone once said to me, "You know, how you get crazy and anxious about Christmas, you have all that shopping to do..." I looked at her. "Nope. I don't get anxious at all about Christmas. If I see something someone will like, and I can afford it, I get it. If I can't, I don't. I don't spend money on things I can't afford."
She was very frustrated by my attitude. Her retort? "Well, you're not like a real woman!"
There you go. A woman's role is to gather high-quality goods she can't afford to provide a momentary endorphin rush for the recipient. And if she rejects this role, she's not "real." Oh well.
So if you're a low-education person who scrapes by on poverty wages, surrounded by people who expect you to perform Christmas miracles and you worry you're a bad parent/spouse/sibling/child if you don't, you might feel compelled to stand in line all night to get that $20 DVD player, or $60 off that Playstation your kid wants.
I heard someone say yesterday that time is money, and standing in line in a waste. Yes -- if you make enough money in the first place. But I suspect the people in these Walmart riots don't make that much, work a couple of part-time jobs with no vacation time, and they're probably going back to work without any sleep the same day they stood in line. Black Friday might even be the only day off they get before Christmas.
Someone on Twitter sneered about "stupid people standing in line to buy cheap Chinese crap." And all I could think was, "Come on, you were probably one of the people who stood in line a few months ago to buy expensive Chinese crap iPhones."
Consumerism is consumerism, baby. It's a disease of capitalism, and no one gets away. Don't judge.