1 Matt Langer Makes a Very Good Point | The Billfold

Matt Langer Makes a Very Good Point

Matt Langer, who previously made a very good point about tipping, now makes a very good point about Black Friday. HE WRITES:

“Definitely one of my favorite things about the way we do capitalism in America is how once a year a bunch of people without want will line up outside of Apple stores hours and hours in advance for a new iPhone, and this is generally considered to be a thing that—even if a little crazy—is a sign of good taste and allegiance to a worthy brand, and yet once a year when those further down the economic food chain have to endure being treated like fucking zoo animals just to get a discount on a TV this isn’t considered an occasion to maybe thoughtfully reevaluate a thing or two but merely a chance to shake our heads in disbelief and mock those who can’t afford to do consumption on their own terms.”

Oh. Oh. (Oh.)

TO BE FAIR, I am as 100 percent totally uninterested in Apple product release EVENTS as I am in DOORBUSTER SALES, but this did give me pause. Because, you know, there’s another American tradition that allows people who cannot normally afford certain things to purchase those things. I know a little bit about it.


9 Comments / Post A Comment

Nick (#1,548)

Nobody in their right mind considers lining up in front of an Apple store “a sign of good taste and allegiance to a worthy brand” either. That and Black Friday are just equally sad.

RosemaryF (#345)

@Nick Word. The only people who think it is “a sign of good taste and allegiance to a worthy brand” are the people standing in line. To everyone else they’re mindless consumer drones who will buy anthing Apple produces.

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@Nick Agree. Also, fun fact: non-rich non-elite people can be just as materialistic and obnoxious as the rich elites. My former sister in law is a good example – never went to college, lives in bumf*k, and…shopping is her favorite hobby. Just buying stuff, tons of stuff, stuff her family does not need and in most cases (gadgets, etc.) will not even use. Most of it she buys at Walmart, etc., and Black Friday is her main holiday. She’s not exactly shopping for essentials at a great price, she’s shopping just because she loves to shop and get “bargains.” The only difference between her and the ipod-waiters is that she doesn’t buy things for “prestige”, she just buys them because she loves to shop and she loves STUFF. Her materialism is just as repulsive to me as that of a “rich” person who buys expensive houses and cars. Most of the people swarming on Black Friday are buying flat screen tvs, not, you know, necessities. (And I say this as someone who does not have a flat screen, so don’t jump all over me like I’m rich.)

For the record, I think that lining up outside of an Apple store hours and hours in advance for a new iPhone is the sign of a jackass and of allegiance to marketing.

And then in another year or two when yet another new iPhone comes out, they’ll be lining up for hours yet again, because this one is newer and even more special because the screen is one millimeter bigger or each one contains a single thread from a bonafide Steve Jobs shoelace.

I mean, a smartphone is a very useful thing to have and all, I won’t deny that. But good god, the way people go absolutely mental over this one brand is absurd.

Fig. 1 (#632)

“mock those who can’t afford to do consumption on their own terms.” Oooh. Ouch. That does sting a bit. I was wondering why the whole anti-Black Friday stuff was making me itchy and tired and I think Matt Langer put his finger on it.

(I <3 your second point & how you and Mike are super non-judgey, Logan. It makes the Billfold much more palatable.)

deepomega (#22)

You don’t even need to claim that Apple lines are lauded! Just ask yourself, why is lining up to by an iPad never given the same cultural scorn as lining up to buy a not-iPad?

lizard (#2,615)

im not so sure the majority of black friday participants are that poor or destitute that they can only afford to shop that day for a new tv. its more of a sport? or tradition. i think both lines have a lot in common.

Blondsak (#2,299)

@lizard Yes, this. My step-mother and her mothers and sisters shop ALL THE TIME, ALL YEAR ROUND. However, Black Friday is a big day for them still, because according to them they love the energetic, competitive nature of it. Like you said, they see it as a sport – they even put together a “playbook” schedule of stores and deals so as to get the biggest return for their money. And, where I’m from at least, they are most definitely not alone in seeing it that way.

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@LO Yeah, exactly, and I mean, maybe everyone I know is “trashy” or something, but it seems to me that shopping on Black Friday is in no way limited to the poor. Some people shop online instead of lining up, but tons of people from all classes line up, too. I think the only difference is that people rarely get trampled in line waiting to buy the new i-whatever. Other than that they are the same lame thing to do in my mind.

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