In America, we have a happy tradition in which people wake up obscenely early on the day after Thanksgiving and proceed to elbow each other in the face in an effort to save a few bucks on something they don’t need. Known as Black Friday, this day provides a stark counterpoint to the preceding day on which people get together with loved ones, feel warm and fuzzy, and proclaim thanks for the things they have.
Having worked in retail while I was in college, I’ve experienced Black Friday from the wrong end many times. Because of this, I’ve discovered there is a strong parallel between certain Black Friday shoppers and members of the BDSM community:
- People who wander in wide-eyed, aimlessly drifting around, unsure of what they’ll find, but happy to be partaking in the experience.
- Those who are only after one specific thing. They only pay attention to their one goal and ignore everything and everyone else. They sometimes shove people out of the way to get what they want. It’s often very clear what they’re after. It’s also just as clear that they don’t care about anyone who can’t be useful in helping them achieve this goal.
- The first-time Black Friday shoppers (or community members) who see all the bad things happening and get overwhelmed. They then go on a social justice campaign to change peoples’ minds and tell them they should avoid certain retailers (or the community) altogether rather than just not being assholes.
- The hardened, jaded employees (or community members) who calmly accept the way things are and have no hope of changing them. The attitude is generally, “It’s always been this way, always will be. We’re just replaceable cogs in the machine.”
- The pineapple-dick who treats the service staff poorly, whether it’s a cashier or the waitstaff at a munch.
- Those who want their hands held the entire way. They want to be led to the correct department, shown the item they want, and have to have all the product’s features read aloud to them. The community equivalent want to be spoon-fed all the event details of every event in their area (even though those details are clearly posted in multiple places online) and want someone to personally introduce them to everyone at the munch. Occasionally they even want others to set up their scenes for them.
- People who go out shopping on Black Friday and act shocked at the amount of traffic and lack of parking spaces. The BDSM version of this person floats throughout the community and gets offended that others engage in types of play (or use language) that they personally find distasteful.
- The ones who like to stir the pot. The Black Friday version relishes the struggle and delights in making this day more difficult for those around them. The BDSM version tries to cause public arguments solely for entertainment; there is no goal of betterment in mind, just needlessly pitting people against each other.
In regard to both Black Friday and the BDSM community, things would run much smoother if people simply stopped being twatcannons and started treating each other well. That is also one of the main tenets at the core of pretty much every major religion: Be nice, take care of each other, and don’t be a dick. But I’m not holding my breath on that actually happening.