Stratford Gazette editorial
St. Marys resident Ken French arrived at Stratford’s Target store at 5 a.m. on Black Friday, only to find 100 people already waiting in line ahead of him. He was there to score a 40” LED TV on sale for $120.
He reports that those waiting were told by Target employees that if there was any pushing, shoving, fighting, or butting in line, those responsible would not be allowed inside. As there were only 70 televisions available, tickets were distributed on a first-come-first-served basis. The person standing in front of French received the 70th ticket.
Unperturbed, he decided to wait it out, hoping perhaps a 71st TV might be found in the back. As it turned out, shortly after the tickets were handed out, a woman ahead of him noticed that she had been given two, and offered one to French. In the end, he got his $120 television; and he didn’t have to wrestle anyone for it.
“You see those videos of people fighting over stuff in the States,” he said. “This was like the super-polite Canadian version.”
In the US, Black Friday has become the day that retail revolves around; so it was only a matter of time before those same American big box chains brought the tradition here - if only to keep Canadian shoppers from spending their money across the border.
Canadians are often guilty of assuming they’re more civilized than their American cousins. Accounts like French’s reassure us in this, but give it time. Sure, Stratford’s Target ran a tight ship this year, but what happens when a store in another town puts a rookie in charge? When wages reach such abysmal levels that cheap electronics go from being something that might be nice to own to something that you would, literally, fight for?
Washington Post columnist Luke O’Neil wrote a thoughtful piece last week saying those notorious Black Friday videos are the newest way that rich people shame the poor.
After all, it’s not the wealthy screaming and clawing at each other for a marked down television. They bought that same TV at a premium when it first came out, and have since upgraded to a newer version.
O’Neil compared Black Friday videos to the Hunger Games series of sci-fi books and films, where a wealthy elite pit children from poorer districts against one another in a fight to the death. They sic the impoverished against one another as a means to retain control over the masses; and, of course, for the pure, morbid entertainment of it all.
Remember, broke people laugh at Black Friday videos just as much as rich people do.
Impoverished people are prone to do desperate things. Canadians shouldn’t be patting themselves on the back for their prim behaviour just yet. As our wages continue to plummet and our camera phones proliferate, it’s only a matter of time before a Canadian version of a Black Friday fiasco crops up.
Question is, when it does, will we feel ashamed? Or be gleefully entertained?