If popular pop songs can wish for Christmas every day, can’t I have Black Friday 24/7 too?

The Skinny | No 167 - Black Friday Distractions

Who doesn’t love a queue?
Who doesn’t love a queue?

What are we skinning? The unbearable cognitive dissonance of Black Friday 2022.

Why are we skinning it? Because the mass-discount fest was always something of a ‘questionable’ capitalist calendar occasion, and against the backdrop of a barrage of crises – both international and local – that are edging into our realities this season, it feels all the more jarring.

How is this year different to its predecessors, as far as Black Friday is concerned? Well, there’s the small matter of a war going on in our own continent, inflation and a looming recession wrecking havoc with our economic prospects, the ravages of the post-pandemic world in general and – locally speaking – yet another feminicide reminding us there’s a lot more work to be done on that front too. ‘Sale - sale - sale’ doesn’t even seem to match the local mood, let alone the international one.

But surely there’s an even bigger distraction running in parallel… You’re talking about the World Cup, aren’t you?

Well yes. Where everyone’s encouraged to put their troubles and differences aside to focus on a jolly good bit of footie. Turns out the World Cup has abdicated on its role as the Great Escape this year, in favour of illuminating us on the inequalities that still run rampant in certain parts of the world.

How very noble of FIFA to take that step. Indeed. We should never be allowed to forgive, forget or otherwise ignore the propagation of homophobia and other human rights violations, and to continue to raise awareness and advocate as necessary.

Damn it, this is all giving me an even stronger urge to shop for ‘bargains’ at shops I wouldn’t normally visit. Same here. This is how capitalism wins: it manages to assimilate its way into our lives and cater to our every whim even under the strongest duress.

But isn’t there something intrinsically Maltese to seeking a bargain at the end of the world? I would agree. If anything, we should reclaim Black Friday as a bona fide Maltese holiday and have the rest of the world rent out its copyright from us.

Hiring one of our ‘independent’ historians to cook up a fabricated lineage and prove that Black Friday was ‘always ours’ should be easy work. Gods know there’s far worse Melitensea volumes already out there in the wild…

Do say: “Retail therapy is undeniably a thing, and being snobby about it only gets us so far. After all, we’re all allowed a bit of an indulgence every now and then, especially those of us from lower-income households. But post-pandemic, with inflation, a looming recession and the spectre of war looming over the continent – to say nothing of a World Cup steeped in human rights controversy by proxy – the mass delusion that is Black Friday carries an even more pervasive caustic sting.”

Don’t say: “If popular pop songs can wish for Christmas every day, can’t I have Black Friday 24/7 too? Having an excuse to say TGIF at the end of every single office day would just be enough, honestly. (Yes, I’m a sociopath).”