On Friday the 28th of November 2014 I got the train to work as usual and unlucky for me, I work in retail. The train had its own sense of lacklustre from the get-go, crammed with earlybird shoppers who somehow painstakingly kill whatever morning time they have with their families to travel to town to shop until they proverbially drop, while disrupting the flow and commute of the workers (me) who’ll sell that stuff to them.
I’m talking about Black Friday, that all-American pre-holiday warmongering for amazing deals, bargains, and rock-bottom prices that has recently haunted the shores of the UK. All the stuff in my shop was just as expensive but people needed to buy it because it was slightly cheaper than Thursday and will be a cheaper price than Saturday. They need to buy it. They don’t need to have it, they need to buy it.
I walked through the hot-bodied weirdos holding TVs, radios and laptops, pushing them aside like pig carcasses hung in an abattoir. I work on the second floor where it was less busy. It still annoyed me to read about people fighting over these things. I thought again of my morning commute and of the homeless people lying in the streets and how the Black Friday shoppers don’t look nor mention their sleeping bags or the less-than-flattering odour coming from them. As long as they got another TV a couple of hundred pounds cheaper then who cares, right?
I was annoyed at the greed, the narcissistic rabidness, the bare-faced neediness of the not-so-needy, and how I (the complaining narrator) was part of this sadistic commercial ritual, taking cash, giving receipts. Thank you, who’s next please? I spend my time there because I’m making money (not a lot) but really I’m making money for someone else. And who really cares? No one. Because that’s how the world works. The world’s full of capitalist complainers in the middle of buying the latest Ipad mini at 30% off. I go home and sleep at night knowing I’m a cog. What annoys me is that I don’t earn enough. What annoys me the most is that I somehow want to be earning more. That I have to earn more to be happy.
I don’t think buying happiness is the way forward. But neither is buying sadness. The world we live in is more difficult than unfair. The inequality is there, but it becomes almost impossible to improve anything because so many people are fighting over what you want as well. I suppose it’s wrong to just go ahead and join the fight to consume, because where would our humanity end up? We can just let them fight among themselves in the abattoir because we all know where that conveyor belt leads.