Dubious distinction: Best Buy offers limo ride for best Black Friday shoppers

I love contests that can be won through storytelling. Telling true stories is, after all, my vocation. So for a moment I was thrilled with the idea of Best Buy's contest: tell a story about your family's traditions, and win!

Then I blinked the sleep out of my eyes and read more carefully. These are not my family's traditions. Perhaps they're yours? Winners in 25 cities who tell tales of Black Friday shopping with their loved ones will be crowned Black Friday VIPs and win a limo ride to Best Buy for themselves and three guests: at 4:30 a.m. on November 28!

Other prizes include a $1000 Best Buy gift card, "pampering" at the store, and a camcorder to record your shopping excitement. While it makes sense that Best Buy would try to generate excitement around Black Friday, I am melancholy at the idea of heralding the acquisition of electronic stuff as a virtue. This sort of American virtue is at the root of our current credit crunch and economic crisis; we've put the debt for purchasing wide-screen TVs, video game machines, and stainless steel appliances into our mortgages, and we're losing our homes and buying an indebted future. Is this worth celebrating?

I say "no." What do you say?

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