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The Nightmare of Black Friday Tico Style

Costa Rica Living – (QCostaRica) – Of all the things to adopt from the North, Black Friday would be last on my list. But not true, it is right up there with Mother’s Day to buy, buy and buy some more.

26/11/2010. Viernes Negro en CEMACO Zapote. Foto Abelardo FonsecaThere are many gentile, cosmetic, lovable things to adopt from the United States, but Black Friday is not one of them. It is the evil side of consumerism, the side that turns nice people into ugly monsters kicking and scratching for that one big discount on….well on just about anything from socks to 50” televisions.

Here, Black Friday begins in October and ends the day after Christmas. It is questionable if there are so many good “deals” or whether it is a case of, “I think this is cheap because it is 6:00AM and the store is crowded.”

Once again, if the United States is number one in conspicuous consumerism, then, per capita, Costa Rica as got to be in second place.

Ca-ching of the cash register go the merry bells of Christmas which started as early as Mother’s Day in August. “Yup,” August 16 was the first day that I saw hints of Christmas sales in Costa Rica.

Why do we not adopt Thanksgiving? The long weekend and all those things that do or do not go with that wonderful holiday? Like, no cards, no gifts to buy, no mandatory church…just give thanks for what you have, what you are and in your own way, relax for a few days before starting the Christmas chaos

I cannot imagine a family on moderate income with children and the intense pressure to purchase gifts, pay the marchamo car tax, the real estate tax and the corporate tax all at the same time. If Junior does not get the electric car like Jose…mom, dad and indeed Santa are all failures. So, like good Americans they go into hock. Even with the fabled aquinaldo, some bills do not get paid but Junior is happy and that is all that counts.

Whatever happened to the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ?

The only question is do we open all the gifts before or after church. Or, let’s skip church
altogether and just kick back and watch the kids be happy or sad, wolf down some of those delicious tamales bought at Mas X Menos, a few beers and later, off to aunt wilma’s place for some more.

It saddens me that Black Friday and the subsequent emphasis on the tangible has replaced so much of the tradition and the true meaning of Christmas. We have taken Christ out of the picture and put Ca-ching in as a viable substitute.

By Juan Sebastian Campos, QCostaRica

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