|By JESSE WASHINGTON, AP National Writer|
Lured by earlier-than-ever Black Friday sales, people left Grandma and Grandpa in search of Samsung and
"But we're still out here," said
Jackson's resignation was common among those who flocked to capitalism's temples for the consumer equivalent of genuflecting. Many said that this Black Friday bled into Thursday crossed a line, that merchants should not intrude like this. Christmas is about the message of Jesus, the feeling went _ not about the gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Yet amid these protests, people still talked about feeling powerless beneath the moment _ as if they had no choice but to shop.
"You have to have these things to enjoy your children and your family," said Jackson's friend
Why must we buy? To demonstrate our love for others? To add a few more inches to our televisions? To help America recover from a vicious recession that itself was born of the desire for more?
Such questions make Jones wince. "It shouldn't be that way, but in a sense there's no way around it," said Jones, a nurse. "Everything ends up with a dollar amount. Even your happiness."
Retailers have long capitalized on the holiday season's perfect storm of emotion and tradition. "We all want to be loved, we all like to give love," says Roger Beahme, director of the
Many embrace the feeling _ and have, in accelerating ways, for a generation and more. Without legions of believers, Black Friday never would have gotten this bold. Despite a surge of resistance as the sales drew near, with scolding editorials and protests by retail employees and reminders of frantic tramplings past, Black Friday's grip on America may have been proven stronger than ever this year.
"It's all part of the holiday _ part of the tradition," said
"You get up in the morning, cook, do your dinner and your football, then you go shopping," River said. "It's the new thing now. Everyone's afraid of change."