Irrationality and Frenzy: Desire and Shopping on Black Friday

“If people will go this wild just to save 40 percent on a television set, then what in the world are they going to do when they have been without food for a couple of days?”

Archaeology and Material Culture

This year even Apple appears poised to join the host of American retailers offering dramatic sales in the early morning or middle of the night on Black Friday.  By Black Friday standards the Apple store sale prices are not especially dramatic, but a legion of consumers seem eager to find an iPad under the tree and will likely beat a path to some of the competitors who are promising dramatic deals on iPads. 

It is now an expectation that Black Friday will be greeted with irrational crowds rioting for prosaic things, and by Saturday a host of videos will dot the internet documenting the most boorish behavior.  Much of the media coverage seems to suggest that the consumer miscreants storming the housewares aisle are a horde quite unlike the bourgeois patiently awaiting iPads.  For some observers, Black Friday reveals the distinctions in class consumer desire and obliquely disparages…

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