This "Black Friday" Madness Is Not A New Thing...
Here in the US (and increasingly [and disturbingly] in other parts of the world), the last few years have given rise to this concept that the Friday after Thanksgiving is a feeding frenzy for Christmas deals. Stores opened earlier and earlier on Friday, offering more and more doorbuster deals. This year I daresay is the craziest yet with some stores opening up on Thursday evening, and a few of the more soulless outfits even posted hours on Thanksgiving day.
I'm far from the first to observe that Thanksgiving is supposed to be a national holiday, a time to be with the family, and to give a thought to the good things around us. It's not supposed to be about getting into fistfights over a $99 flat screen (another thing I wish I were making up).
For a lot of us, this time on the calendar was when we did our wishing for all the cool stuff we hoped would appear under the tree - and for a lot of us that hasn't changed. Shopping for those toys and gadgets is part of the fun, and I guess for some people so is the round the clock shopping madness. Just to prove that this isn't a recent phenomenon, here is a commercial for Zayre (a chain of big box stores... sort of like a Kmart, but with no scruples) from November 25th 1982. The vaguely David Copperfield looking guy promises that Zayre will stay open for 60 hours straight to make your holiday easier (and to visit hell-on-earth on their employees - just like this year!).