Friday, November 23, 2012

This Black Friday: Channel Your Inner Canuck

EcoYogini reflects on the Americanization of Canadian consumer culture...

As a Canadian, Black Friday has never really held a lot of importance in my holiday planning. Our thanksgiving happened in October, and holiday shopping kinda happens after Remembrance Day (November 11th). A few years ago I had to get my husband to even explain what the heck it means (ahem, in case you're unclear, businesses move from being in the "red" to being the "black" in sales).

I'd say Boxing Day, in Canada, looks a bit more like the whole "Black Friday" phenomenon where there are line ups etc. Still, it must be our British heritage, the entire RUSH, BUY, TRAMPLE, SHOVE aspect of Black Friday (or at least, how the media portrays this) isn't even close on Boxing Day. It's just not that polite... This is especially true in the maritimes.

Blogging has really brought a sense of international connectivity beyond the "American" television that is such a part of Canadian media consumption. Which I find pretty darn neat. However, that same globalization, shrinking of our world, means that in the past few years "Black Friday" has crept into Canadian rhetoric.

I type this post from a conference on French Health Care in Ottawa (Ontario) and Black Friday has been mentioned (with a thick French accent!) several times by presenters while signs in various shops around the hotel shout out BLACK FRIDAY SALE! My favourite was a Walmart radio commercial featuring a "consumer" who suggested that at Walmart they are calling it "Happy Friday". Right.

There are no line ups, no rushing, no screaming, no trampling.

I'll be honest, after listening to talks on American innovation regarding integrating multiculturally sensitive and diverse systems of Health Care (CLAS Guidelines), I'm sad that what is adopted much more easily into Canadian culture is an event based on individualism and consumption.

That said, I'm in Ottawa and tonight is the ONLY night I have free... so guess what I'm going to be doing... ? I'm a hypocrite.

I will say, that like the irony and non-ownership present in the hipster culture, "I'm not shopping because it's Black Friday, I'm shopping because I'm in Ottawa": so I don't really own up to my actions. (hah)

So no judgement on all of us who are feeling the pocketbook pinch, but if you are going out there today I would ask you channel your inner Canuck and:

- be polite and smile: seriously missing the last Beibs doll won't bring on the END. People always respond more positively when we respect each other.
- Hold the door for someone.
- Say "Thank You" :)


♥ Callah said...

i definitely got in my good deed- i overheard the girl behind me tell the girl behind her she was on her 15m break and never going to make it back in time. I told her to go ahead of me and it was like Christmas came early or something with the look on her face! Funny how such a small act can really brighten someone's day! (p.s. saved $100 on the 3 items i bought today- totally worth the small hassle!)

Stephanie B said...

Being an American ex-pat living in Montreal for the last decade, I've been a little sad to see the whole "Black Friday" thing creep into the Canadian consciousness lately, too. In fact, this week I was asked to explain the concept to confused co-workers, being the token Canadian-American in the office, and just couldn't. Even when I lived in the States, I never participated in Black Friday, i stayed home in my pjs... as more people should ;)


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