HOW TO HAVE A BLACK FRIDAY DIVORCE: Shoppers beware. You may be asking yourself, is there a link between Black Friday and divorce? I say quite possibly. First of all, by Black Friday, I mean the first friday after Thanksgiving here in the U.S. as opposed to, say Friday the 13ths or the stock market crash in 1929 which are also referred to as Black Fridays.
In the U.S., Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving, is typically one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Many department stores such as Walmart, Kmart and Macys have sharp discounts in prices and people have been known to line up for hours to take advantage of rock bottom sales prices. Sometimes, people actually get killed at these Black Friday sales, since this event tends to bring out the animal in a lot of folks who literally go berserk and into stampedes and stuff when the doors open for these infamous sales days.
So it got me to wondering about this in the context of divorce, being that Black Friday, 2009 is rapidly approaching. I haven’t actually found any empirical studies on the issue, but I suspect that even if there is a link between the divorce rate and Black Friday shopping mania, that this year it won’t be so pronounced as folks are still recuperating from the Recession of 2008. But it almost makes sense that this type of mania could lead to heightened verbal and even physical altercations and to a lot of stress which could impact a marriage – especially one that is already in peril.
For one thing, this spending of money, notwithstanding the amazing sales is bound to be a point of contention. Just because there are sales does not mean that the items are needed. If family budgets are already strained, the fact that it is Black Friday won’t do much to quell the tension of spending money when there is a limited supply of it. The converse is also true. If a spouse wants to go shopping for Black Friday and there is no money, and honey basically says that shopping is verboten. This obviously would lead to fights and could precipitate divorce. Besides, think about it: most divorces happen right around the holidays. In other words, things typically reach a boiling point and by the first week in January, most states around the nation report a spike in divorce filings. So it may very well be that Black Friday could be a tipping point for a lot of folks.
How can one avoid being a statistic? Well, it would almost seem to make sense to forego the Black Friday mania. At least for this year. Not only because it could literally be hazardous to your health (look at what happened to that Walmart employee in Long Island last year? Dead!) but it could also be detrimental to your marriage. Why not eschew the whole thing and go to the museum instead?
Previously published November 13, 2009