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Happy Spring Black Friday!

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We owe a debt of gratitude to the folks at Home Depot who came up with the wonderful concept called Spring Black Friday. At last, we have a name for the awkward Friday before Easter. For years people have referred to it as, uh, you know, that day when schools are out, Wall Street is closed, and there’s nothing to do but go to church.

But now, we have a name for it. Spring Black Friday. It is the perfect counterpoint to the traditional Black Friday, which occurs the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday, of course, is as close as Americans come to a religious holiday, that day after the gluttonous feast, when families go to the local mall and worship at the feet of the Great God Commerce.

Fulfilling as Black Friday is, when we all buy things we can’t afford for people who don’t need them, all to observe what we call “Holiday,” it is sometimes hard to go a full year without worshiping again. Granted, there is Valentine’s Day when we buy chocolates, flowers and cards, and St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo, when we gather in bars to drink ourselves into oblivion, but somehow these minor Holy Days don’t quite fill the gap between Holiday and Graduation Day (which occupies the entire month of June).

Thankfully, last year the marketing department at Home Depot came up with Spring Black Friday. This year, they’re doing it again, and joined by such stalwarts as Lowes and Walmart, it promises to be bigger than ever. At last, all Americans will have a place to worship during this bleak, empty season. Spring Black Friday should fill out our religious calendar. We will be fulfilled.

In his “Inferno,” Dante described the nine circles of hell. Actually, he got that wrong. There is a tenth circle, and it is the exclusive domain of everyone in the marketing and advertising racket.

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