my thoughts on black friday.

I’ve been meaning to write a post sharing with you my thoughts on Black Friday but, big surprise, I haven’t gotten around to it until now when Black Friday is long gone. Actually, from here on out I will no longer capitalize black Friday. It is not deserving. (Does that give you a clue as to how I feel about the day?) I’ve had mini discussions on the topic with friends in person and Twitter friends. I would like to attempt to get all of my thoughts out here and maybe, just maybe, change your mind (assuming you’re not as crazy against black Friday as I am).

Let me start off by saying I completely understand. I understand the desire to get good deals. I understand the desire of a company or corporation to make money. I’m not against good deals and profits.. I’m against the manner in which they are obtained in this particular instance.

Take a moment to imagine with me, if you will, what black Friday very well may look like a few years from now. You may think I’m going overboard but I’m not. When I was younger there were sales the day after Thanksgiving. Just some really great sales. Great. More recently these sales have become rather intense and stores have extended their operating hours. I first became aware of this a few years ago, while living here in Minnesota, when some store like Herbergers or something was open 24 hours at a time. I found that absurd. I should have seen what was coming! The rate in which black Friday intensity has increased is so dramatic over the past three years that I can only imagine it will snowball into something resembling black week. During black week stores will be open 24 hours every day – including Thanksgiving. Think that’s a stretch? I don’t.

Companies these days care about profits and only profits. They do not care about their employees (don’t let them fool you… they really don’t care) and they do not care about their customers (again… don’t let them fool you). Capitalism is king in our country and people are… nothing. And what are most of us doing? We’re buying into the whole darn thing because everyone is getting so stinking materialistic I want to scream.

Yes, maybe you can get a great deal on a giant television on black friday. But do you need it? If I can’t afford it on any other day I’m not going to buy into the absurdity of this crazy day, punch someone in the face, camp out in the cold, to get my hands on something as unnecessary as a television. If I can’t afford it any other day it’s probably something I can live without.

This is a slight tangent but I can’t forget… The thought of parents bringing their children with them to this black Friday stuff nearly makes me sick. It’s a terrible terrible lesson. It’s already hard to resist media telling us we need so many things.. black Friday magnifies that times a billion.

I read an article from the perspective of someone that works in retail who was pretty down on all of the black Friday haters because she sympathized with the employers. Retail is about working, she said. You don’t get many days off. If you think you do… you’re in the wrong business. Okay.. BUT! Most people are not in retail by choice, most people work retail out of necessity for a job.. to provide for their families.. the families that they cannot celebrate holidays with because of their stupid jobs. What a vicious cycle.

As I said before I understand the desire to get a good deal. But, dear little stores, why can you not operate only during your regular hours? You will still sell that silly doorbuster if you open at 9:00 rather than midnight (or maybe they’re banking on sleep deprived irrational midnight decisions? Oh yeah… clearly they care about you, clearly). One store started it so now they all have to follow suit because that one store can’t nab all of the profit. I likened this situation to when I used to work at Starbucks. I hated the opening shifts. Not too many customers would come in at 5:00 and those that did usually bought only coffee.. nothing fancy. Now, is it too hard to make coffee for yourself at 5:00? If Starbucks did not open until 7:00 everyone would deal with it and they would make coffee at home and it would be okay. But corporations do these things to increase their profits and what do we do? We eat it up like a swarm of mosquitos flying into a bug zapper. Awesome.

Personally I have decided, if I can manage, to not spend a single dollar at any store that operates outside of it’s typical hours this holiday season. This may prove slightly difficult when I have a giftcard to use up or if someone asks for something found at only one store. But I will do my best and I hope that you’ll join me. These corporations and companies respond to their profits.. if they see a reduced turn out and smaller profit it may encourage them to lessen their operating hours. I can only hope that there are enough of us out there that feel this way and can possibly do some talking with our pocketbooks before we start seeing a black week. Because… gross. We’ll just have to move to a not so material country if that happens. As a culture we need to take a huge step back from material things. It’s really getting out of hand.

Please share with me how you feel about black Friday. I’m really interested in hearing other opinions!

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