Black Fri…Thursday?

The cries are all over social media. Everyone lamenting the plight of the put-upon retail employees being robbed of their time with their families. Consumerism run rampant. And indeed, it reeks of greed and conspicuous consumption without care for ones fellow man. It is bad enough that so many abandon their families to camp out for that deal at 12:01 on Friday morning, but shouldn’t the employees have chance to take their time in thanks for all they have before being shuffled away to facilitate their greed?

Black Friday has long been an ugly spectacle. Why then should we allow the injustice of its growing incursion on Thanksgiving Day?

Why should we be even be surprised? Retailers don’t even wait for Halloween’s ghouls to be pulled from the shelves anymore before launching into their Christmas campaigns. What profit is there in reminding people to be thankful for what they have? Let’s start the countdown to when the magnitude of your love is measured in trinkets that you might just be able to procure on sale!

The retailer is not the problem here. It’s the consumer. The market is only responding to market forces. The retailer need only be available to receive them.

Are you sickened by the commercialization and consumerism? Don’t play the game. If there were no profit in it, the retailers wouldn’t do it. It’s not a moral play by the retailer, it’s a cold hard economic one. Don’t be disgusted by them, be disgusted by your fellow man that has enabled it. Your fellow man that makes it profitable.

You know what, back when it was an option, I volunteered to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was a waitress and our tables were always full. You had to make your reservations a month in advance if you hoped to get a table without waiting more than an hour. I worked those days because I’m a greedy capitalist and knew that I would make serious money off the tips. Maybe I should call the restaurant up this year and see if they need an extra hand…

If the plight of the employees truly moves you, do something for them. Take them a plate so they don’t miss out on the meal. Make them cookies or pie. At the very least, be kind. Tell them ‘thank you.’ They don’t hear it much particularly this time of the year.

And while you are preparing those meals for the put-upon cashiers and bag boys, think about the emergency personnel that have to work the holiday too. Police, ambulance, and fire departments are still there to respond while you are enjoying the game. Or those families with an empty chair because their loved one is deployed, their prayers being that next Thanksgiving they can be thankful for a safe return.

The world keeps spinning no matter what the date on the calendar. Don’t be swept up, and don’t let it pass you by.

3 thoughts on “Black Fri…Thursday?”

  1. Worked many a Black Friday in retail, and it got to the point where I couldn’t enjoy Thanksgiving because of the stress of knowing what was coming the next day, or Christmas, due to the stress from the previous weeks. I vowed I’d never go back to retail, ever again. I think I’ve shopped Black Friday twice, and both times it was well after the store’s normal hours of operation and I tried to be friendly and polite to the salesmen. Its a crappy deal, working insane hours to witness/aid/abet the insanity that people bring with them for a crappy sale. I agree with you…shoppers bring this on themselves, the retail world is simply feeding off the frenzy already in progress. Its a self-perpetuating loop.

  2. Walmart has three “events” this year — 6 pm and 8 pm Thursday evening (um, “Thanksgiving Day”, for non-employees), and one at 8 am Friday morning.

    I have mixed feelings about the Silly Season. On one hand,thinking about who a gift would be going to, and what gift would enrich the life of the receiver (as opposed to meeting “gifting” goals of the giver), is a lifetime, year long endeavor. It takes time to know who someone is, and what we might provide that will enlarge their life. Starting gifting season in the summer isn’t outrageous, when you contemplate that memory quilt, knitted or sewn garment, handmade toy or masterpiece rocking chair, that might take months or longer to make and finish.

    On the other hand, buying a gift because it is popular, or well-merchandised (merchandising: creating a market demand for something we want to sell, as opposed to meeting an existing need, like, for flour or salad oil), skips the part about knowing the intended receiver well enough to know what will be not just welcome, but be cherished, or meet a fundamental need in their lives, now and in years to come.

    If Christmas is a celebration of faith and celebration — then Black Friday and the rest of the merchandising has nothing to do with Christmas.

  3. I hope you have a wonderful day. We will be avoiding anything retail, enjoying the day together before I go back on duty in the wee hours (I volunteered, to give one of the probies with a family the day off).

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