Saturday, November 29, 2014

Getting Down To Small Business Saturday ™

Hope you’re all out there enjoying your Small Business Saturday ™. Which people say is a holiday. I guess not so much people as just one company that says that. American Express likes to remind you to think small this holiday season. Think small while racking up thousands of dollars at 20% interest.
Some that are far too cynical had the gull to question the intentions of American Express in founding and pushing this holiday. Sometimes a large multinational financial services institution just looks at the runaway consumerism and disconnect and has nothing to do but shake it’s head. So American Express did the noble thing. They thought it would be a good idea if people used their American Express cards not to pad the bottom line of large multinational corporations, but of smaller brick and mortar retailers. So American Express came up with the idea of a day dedicated to patronizing smaller local brick and mortar stores. Presumably local brick and mortar stores that then have to fork over untold millions in transaction fees. Then American Express immediately trademarked the idea so nobody could profit off of the idea but them.

A company that took in 33 billion dollars last year urges you to shop small

Even though I think we all have to applaud American Express for their efforts (which are of course no way crass or disingenuous) to combat how removed we’ve gotten from what we buy and from where it comes. Despite their best efforts though, Small Business Saturday isn’t really a holiday in any real sense of the word unlike it’s big brother Black Friday. 
The time these people spent in this line has negated any savings they would've enjoyed. 

Now there’s a holiday. I know because my phone automatically corrects me when I forget to capitalize it. Black Friday is unique because unlike every other holiday that exists there was no meaning behind it before it became a holiday. Every other day had some significance before we decided to go nuts and buy shit for it. Not Black Friday though. This was just a day where we, as a people were going nuts and buying a whole bunch of shit some day in November. This kept on happening year after year so eventually they decided to give it a name. Now it’s on the calendar. 

What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?  - Some asshole
I like to think that it’s going to be the reverse. Generally a holiday has a great deal of importance then slowly we forget what the original meaning behind it was until one day you’re punching in the teeth of some jackass at a toy store so you can buy your ungrateful kid’s love on Christmas morning. Slowly over time the holiday just gets more and more perverted until it has no meaning aside from the commercial. Black Friday is the opposite of that. It’s never had any meaning. It started out as what most holidays end up like. So I’d like to think that it’s going to go the opposite direction. Where in the future where every holiday has become a sick excuse to waste money and trample people to death that in that future one holiday will have a solemn feel to it, and it’ll be black Friday.

Black Friday: All gave some. Some Gave all.
I have to tell you I don’t see that happening though. In the years I worked retail I was always struck by the amazing disconnect between people reporting on it and what I was experiencing myself. I heard countless stories on my way into the Best Buy I worked at about how we were changing as a society. Black Friday wasn’t going to be like it has in the years past. You see there’s been a movement of people who’ve decided not to degrade themselves by coming to a shitty store hours or days in advance to save a little bit of money. We’re wising up as a people. Those would be the stories I would hear on the radio. Then I would get to work and be warned about the risk of being trampled by animals in search of a moderately discounted Blu-ray player. 

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