Look out, old chum…….Black Friday is almost upon us.
That’s right, after the time honored American tradition of the day of giving thanks there comes the craziest of events in the known universe. A scourge of the retail employee and a day most cherished by those who want to get all their Christmas shopping done on a super tight budget. Being Canadian, I only heard about the phenomenon that is Black Friday about 5 years ago. While the battle of Black Friday has tried to make it’s way up here in recent years, it will never compare to the war stories I have heard from my American friends who have witnessed the carnage first hand. Some dudes never got over Nam or when their band opened for Nirvana…..and then some guys never got over that Black Friday where everything went wrong. It’s a day unlike any other I am told. So join me on an intellectual unravelling of this staple of the U.S. Retail calendar.
Black Friday first got it’s name in Philadelphia back in the 1960s to describe the heavy volume of pedestrian and vehicle traffic that would occur the day after Thanksgiving. By 1975, the name began see broader use outside of Philly and shortly after that, the explination behind the name changed as well. It’s believed that most stores operate at a financial loss from January to November of every year. When Black Friday hits, it’s when most stores’ profits are “in the black”. Regardless of the true meaning of the name, the day has become the most profitable and busy retail day of the year in the States with big box stores taking full advantage. Walmart opens in some states as early as 8p.m. on Thanksgiving night to get the most out of those sweet Black Friday bucks. The crowds are fierce and, in some cases, violent. Which makes me ask the question: If this day is such a big deal in the states, how come it’s never covered in comics? We’ve got stories that cover Thanksgiving festivities, why not Black Friday?
Think about the levels of the human condition that could be dissected with one good superhero story about Black Friday. Imagine mild mannered Bruce Banner getting stuck in a Black Friday mob. Fighting the urges of the Hulk with all his might. Will he let out the beast and endanger a group of shoppers who just want to get a big screen t.v. at 75% off? Or will he find a way to calm himself using buddhist chants and breathing execizes so he can get all his shopping done? The tension would be high to say the least. Or how about a story about Barry Allen hitting every store and getting every door crasher deal so the Flash could present these discount items to needy families throughout Central City? If that’s not a heartwarming tale, I don’t know what is. And what about villains? Remember that woman who maced everybody last year to be the first in line? She the perfect Black Friday rogue for Daredevil or Spidey to have to deal with. Call her Mace Mistress or Lady Mace. I know it’s on the nose but this would be a one-off villain specific to this story. It would be fun none the less to see someone like Matt Murdock, with his heightened senses, attempt to take her down. Maybe Superheroes aren’t your thing. This doesn’t mean there couldn’t be a comic for you. Peanuts could provide a fun little yarn of the Van Pelt family entering the Black Friday fray. Just think of the antics that would abound with Lucy, Linus and Rerun getting dragged around by their parents through crowded stores. Or Charlie Brown lining up all night just to get a pair of gloves for that little red haired girl at a good price. There’s plenty of fodder for comics here.
Maybe there are comics that have touched on the subject, and if there are, please share them with me in the comments. But regardless, if you’re reading this and you plan on weathering the Black Friday storm tomorrow, play safe. Treat your fellow man with good will and hopefully he will do the same to you. Make us proud, geek soldier. MAKE US PROUD!
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!