Via Chez, here's Salon's Andrew Leonard:
"There is a point in our culture beyond which camp and kitsch no longer make the least ironic sense, where consumerism loses its last mooring to civilization, where even seemingly legitimate protest devolves into farce. That point is Black Friday... There’s a point where healthy consumerism becomes out-of-control marketing-driven commodity fetishism, and when we find ourselves checking our smartphones for last minute online deals while standing in line for a chain store opening at midnight on Thanksgiving, we are clearly too far gone. That’s insanity."
Exactly. There's a zero barrier between being a smart, bargain-hunting consumer and being a deep-discount-obsessed maniac who's self-worth is guided by finding the absolute lowest price for a PS3, and then engaging in a midnight cattle call of similarly-minded T1000 consumobots. Civility be damned.
The Black Friday line-up and subsequent crush of herded bodies through Sam Walton's pearly gates is like the consumer equivalent of Howard Hughes frantically washing his hands with a pumice stone until they cracked and bled. Sure, he had impeccably clean hands, but at what expense? Likewise, the people who trampled and pepper-sprayed their way to a kickass flatscreen accomplished their goal -- but they traded in their dignity for the prize.
And finally, your moment of Zen:
Yep. That's a Walmart mosh pit over a $2 waffle iron.