I’m not shopping on Black Friday this year. Why? Well, I remember, back in high school, coming home from Halloween parties, switching on the TV and seeing the first Christmas commercials of the year. I’d roll my eyes and think, “What about Thanksgiving?” These days, Christmas commercials start in early October (I’m looking at you Kmart) and Thanksgiving is completely passed over in favor of the almighty dollar.
I’ve never been a fan of stores opening at midnight after Thanksgiving- who wants to go to work immediately following a tryptophan-filled dinner or freeze in a line of bargain shoppers ready to trample you for a flat screen? This year, Black Friday doesn’t start at midnight. It starts at 5 PM on Thursday. Right around the time when most Americans would be sitting down with their families to enjoy a long, leisurely dinner, employees of Toys R Us will be at work so that moms can save $4 on a Pokemon toy.
Obviously, as a fashion blogger, I’m an active participant in our consumer culture. I can’t wait for the next season of shows and the next “Must Have” item! Not only is shopping practically my hobby but I encourage others to lust and consume on a daily basis. So maybe my argument doesn’t have a leg to stand on but something about our Black Friday culture is bothering me more than usual.
The stores most guilty of denying their employees turkey are the ones that can most afford to be closed on Thursday. (For the record, I don’t begrudge small stores opening at regular business times on Black Friday- it would be bad business to close!) Target, for example, did $72 billion in sales during 2012.
|Nordstrom is doing the right thing for their employees by staying closed on Thanksgiving.|
I suppose there is an argument that people who choose to work at these major retailers during the holiday season know that they are required to work on Black Friday and therefore are choosing to work on Thanksgiving. But a lot of people who work on the floor at these big stores like Walmart aren’t choosing to work there; they have to. This is how they provide for their families who have to turn around and celebrate Thanksgiving without them. Is it really so much to ask that they be allowed to enjoy the holiday? After all, for most of the twentieth century retail survived and thrived just fine opening at 9 AM without taking away a very rare day off.
What kind of example are we setting anyway? People bemoan millennials sense of entitlement and lack of empathy but what do they expect to come from dinnertime door busters and midnight madness year after year?
So I’m not shopping on Black “Friday”. I love a good deal but I also love watching the parade with my family, having hot chocolate at the high school football game, helping my mom peel potatoes, eating pumpkin pie with my brother, and watching Elf after dinner, feeling sleepy and satisfied. I simply don’t want to be part of something that deprives other families of their traditions.