Breakaway Episode 5 – Black Friday and Holiday Shopping


Are you Black Friday shopper, like Penn? Or are you ambivalent, like Ellen? This week, the ladies of the Social Breakdown get together for a breakaway episode on the history of Black Friday and the many sociological purposes of holiday shopping. What does seasonal overconsumption do to our emotions, pocketbooks, and the environment? How are sales used to shame shoppers and bury environmental reports cough cough Trump administration cough? Tune in here to learn more!


Black Friday, shopping, holidays, consumption, consumer culture, materialism, overconsumption


  1. Here’s a good (and free) place to start on the work of Thorstein Veblen, an American economist and sociologist who theorized the concept of ‘conspicuous consumption.’ This is his most notable work, “The Theory of the Leisure Class.”
  2. “A Brief History of Black Friday” (Mental Floss)
  3. “What’s the Real History of Black Friday” (History)
  4. “Black Friday Brawl Videos are How Rich People Shame the Poor” (Washington Post)
  5. “Stop Shaming Black Friday Shoppers” (Racked)
  6. “The Energy 202: Trump Administration’s Release of a Climate Report on Black Friday didn’t bury the news” (Washington Post)
  7. “Death of Small Businesses in Big Cities, Explained” (Vox)
  8. “Banning Straws and Bags Won’t Solve our Plastic Problem” (World Resources Institute)
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