Is anyone else bothered by the final Black Friday weekend statistics? I am appalled. Despite ongoing protests by the 99% movement; despite canned encouragements to “Think Differently” and “Shop Locally” that have recently flown around Facebook; despite high unemployment, high homeowner foreclosure rates, stagnant wages, cuts to education, social welfare nets, and healthcare; despite all the doom and gloom, Shopper Trak reports that sales on Friday, November 25, were up 6.6 percent. Sales continued to climb throughout the long weekend, adding up to a 39 percent increase for the entire weekend. And it’s not over yet. Today, known in the online sales world as Cyber Monday, sales are expected to increase two million above last year’s one BILLION dollar sales.
SDS ponders the perils mob behavior in her recent post about the 99% movement. There is no greater or more reckless mob than that comprised of shoppers who interrupt Thanksgiving Day to queue up like cattle in a slaughterhouse maze, crashing their way into retail stores the moment the door opens. People have actually been killed in the stampede, for God’s sake. This year a Los Angeles Walmart shopper was arrested for pepper-spraying fellow shoppers at a rack of electronic games. Perhaps the woman’s brilliant ploy was sparked by watching TV footage showing security guards pepper-spraying OWS protesters on the campus of US Davis.
Even more shocking is the report I heard on CNN last night that a majority of holiday shoppers interviewed this weekend were shopping not for Christmas gifts, but for themselves. Retailers and manufacturers are gloating over the uptick in sales. This is just what the economy needs: strong holiday sales that will prompt manufacturers to grease the wheels of production. Grow the economy! Yea. Use more resources, more energy; produce more stuff so that your used stuff can end up in the landfill.
Come on people. Do we really NEED all this stuff? Can’t we all just get along with what we have? How about mending, altering, patching, repairing? Let’s put the money we save into helping each other survive. We’re going to weigh down this poor planet and knock it off its orbit with the weight of our stuff.