Despite much crowing by retail watchers about how well the retail sector is expected to do this holiday season, Black Friday weekend proved to be a major disappointment, with overall spending down significantly over last year. Has the message about the idiocy of this consumer holiday finally reached the masses, or have people just wised up about the fact that the discounts start a week early now and only get better as Christmas gets closer?

As the New York Times and Wall Street Journal are reporting, via the National Retail Federation, national sales figures between Thanksgiving and Sunday were down 11 percent over the same period in 2013, suggesting either that Americans have just gotten sick of the whole circus, or the economy has improved enough that people aren't losing sleep to save $50 on a TV this year. Or it may be some combination of both, along with overall fatigue and embarrassment after a decade of manic advertising and bleary-eyed, Thanksgiving hangover shopping battles. 2013's Black Friday spending total was over $57 billion, and this year it was down to $51 billion, including online sales.

Between South Park's 2013 satire of Black Friday and this year's Buick/GMC car commercials showing smug neighbors shaming their black-eyed, overtired Black Friday-obsessed neighbors, the message is definitely out there that waking up at 3 a.m. to go shop isn't exactly cool.

Also, retail giants like Target and Wal-Mart starting posting their deals in early November this year, and websites like were pushing 25 and 30 percent off their entire stock starting two weeks ago, too. Add to that the education of consumers after years of aggressive deal-shilling throughout the late holiday season, and it adds up to a dilution of consumer hunger for deals on the traditional first weekend of holiday spending.

And doesn't everyone remember a more civilized time when people slept in and maybe went out shopping the day after Thanksgiving sometime after noon, or waited until Saturday, like normal humans? The 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. opening times started creeping in around 2008, and by 2011 you had stores like Best Buy and Kohl's opening at midnight on Thanksgiving. Adding to the absurdity, this year, "Black Friday" actually started on Thursday at places like Target, JCPenney, and Walmart which all opened at 5 or 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. In the SF Bay Area, where the weather was pleasant all of Thanksgiving week, there were eager shoppers camped out outside a Best Buy as early as the night before Thanksgiving.

Below, for reference, one of the now annual compilations of Black Friday fight videos, and a vision of Black Friday at the Urban Outfitters in Thousand Oaks, California in 2011.