Color Pie Friday: The Blackest Friday
Black Friday is nuts. Super deals and saving drive many to the verge of madness, scrambling over each other to get the holiday gifts that may be gone in the blink of an eye. Contrary to popular belief, the day isn’t named so that businesses can “get back into the black ink” (signifying financial gains, as opposed to the red ink, which signifies a deficit). The name originated in Philadelphia in the 1960’s, as police struggled to deal with the surge in shoppers and traffic. The consumer-friendly spin didn’t appear until the 1980’s, when retailers couldn’t escape the negative connotations of the name. Today I’m going to discuss what is actually Black about Black Friday, which should explain why it’s such a fitting name.
At its core, Black Friday is about commerce. Finances. Trading slips of cotton paper that our government says are worth $X for goods and services. One resource for another. That’s a basic tool in Black’s repertoire. Black trades resources all the time. Life for cards. Creatures for cards. Creatures for life. Cards for creatures. Creatures for other creatures. Cards for more cards. Cards for poison counters. You name a resource, Black as brokered in it.
This kind of resource trading comes from Black’s desire to do anything to get what it wants. Black understands that different things have different value to different people, and maneuvers its way through those relationships to its benefit. In modern terms, Black understands that if you sit in an office and send emails for someone else, that someone will give you currency that is useless to you until you flip it for a sandwich.
Looking Out for Number One
Another important aspect of Black Friday is that there are only so many copies of [item you’re after] to go around, and way more people that want [item you’re after]. Only so many people are going to get [item you’re after], so you have to do anything you can do make sure you’re one of those lucky few. Wake up early. Stand in line. Run through a store. [Item you’re after] will be yours if you’re willing to put your needs above everyone else’s.
It’s a natural extension of Black’s core beliefs. Black thinks that every individual will always, when it comes down to it, act in their own self-interest. Anyone who doesn’t is a sucker. If you yield and let another person grab the last [item you’re after], then you’re weak. Of course, the language used when talking about this principle tend to make this seem more malevolent than it actually is in practice. Not every Black Friday shopping spree is like Jingle All the Way. Most of the time it’s just a matter of keeping your eye on sales, knowing which stores to shop at, or simply waiting for a good online deal.
Day of the Living Dead
The absolute worst part about Black Friday is undoubtedly the Zombie hordes. I don’t know who is raising all these undead drones, but it happens every year. I know you’ve seen them. Lifeless, soulless heaps of people shambling down the aisles at your local retailers. Their faces contorted into grotesque shapes, looking like they haven’t showered or slept in days. Mindlessly obeying the maniacal desires of their dark masters. Clogging store and street with their sluggishness. Just the worst.
And really, this is the most Black part about Black Friday. Zombies are as Black as it gets, being (one of) Black’s characteristic races. They’ve been around in Magic since the beginning, nailing the sickening, unholy magics of Black. The unforgiving masses of Zombies that have permeated our culture recently affirm it all: Zombies are cool and won’t be going anywhere soon. I guess we’ll have to suffer the hordes for another shopping season.
Do Not Lose Hope, Shopper!
I prefer to stay out of the Black Friday mess. It’s not worth losing a whole day just to save some money. Come Cyber Monday, stuff online is going to be just as cheap (or cheaper!) than the things you can find in stores anyway. If I can do something from the comfort of my bed rather than fighting against all of humanity in sardine-can-aisles, why wouldn’t I? (I’m going to be the one responsible for the culture in Wall-E, aren’t I…) Whether you revel in your personal power and rise above the throngs of shoppers or exercise your sneaky ways by waiting for online sales, this is the weekend for you to let your inner Black mage out.
Until next time, planeswalkers, may your holiday quests be successful.