Monday, November 26, 2012

THE BLACK (FRIDAY) PLAGUE



 by Kate Collins

I’m not a Black Friday shopper anymore, but I used to be. I understand the thrill of buying gifts at super low prices. But the corporate hype for Black Friday now seems to have gone to the extreme.

I know many of you don’t mind getting away from the football frenzy and working off some of those pumpkin pie calories. I get that. But for those of us who have family members in retail, it’s a real bummer, and as I see it, this love of the bargain is only going to make those early store hours get earlier, until finally we won’t have a Thanksgiving holiday. It will be just another day and another meal. And I find that sad.

What makes me angry is that the decision to open a store at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving is made at the corporate level and is driven by greed. You can bet that the store that has employees report in on Thanksgiving is not going to affect the CEO’s holiday. And look how that corporate drive for money has creeped into our collective consciousness. People are so accustomed to Black Friday sales, so what if they start a little early? And then a little earlier? And then a whole lot earlier, wiping out the entire holiday?

That’s what big corporations are banking on. We won’t complain about losing our holiday because we love bargains. 

Is it a win-win?  You tell me.

16 comments:

  1. Hi Kate. I agree with everything you've said. If I may share a story: my Dad worked in Chicago for Sears many years ago. He sold tv's, radio's, small appliances. In those days he worked Monday through Saturday and Thursday nights. One day I found my mom crying quietly. She had just learned that Sears would now be open on Sundays as well. "There goes our family time with Daddy" she said. The employees were the first people I thought about when Black Friday became Grey Thursday. I fear what you fear about Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. How about an editorial to the NY Times! Hoping you and all of your fans had a blessed, yummy, warm and happy Thanksgiving. Adrienne in MN.

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  2. I work in a 24/7/365 field so I don't have holidays-and I haven't for years. For me the holiday is whatever day I have off closest to it. This year I celebrated Thanksgiving the Saturday after and I'll be celebrating Christmas the Saturday before. While I love holidays, the day itself is just another day as I'm usually working!

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  3. You're right about this. I used to work retail, the night shift. We used to have to come in the night before Thanksgiving and Christmas to stock, and then again the night of, so we could "get the store ready". it's too much. Now I have relatives that work retail, and everyone always has to work so early, that they have to leave early. To think that some families have to completely change their holidays for stores is awful. I know there are places where people work all the time - hospitals, police, etc. But stores shouldn't be like that, it isn't really necessary for our safety or health. It's just greed and convenience.

    For a bonus, we have the deals that cause people to trample each other after waiting in line for hours. Society, yeah, we're civilized. ;(

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  4. I think it is terrible. I have never been a black Friday shopper and I am definitely too old to start now, even if I had the money. Retail people get too little time off from work as it is and management has no qualms about taking that little bit away if it can give the4m more profits. The greed in this country is just awful.

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  5. I agree. I refuse to shop on Thanksgiving. If we all did, the CEO's would give it back to us as a true holiday! I am pretty sure they are all enjoying their holiday gathering while their employees are rushing off to work...argh.

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  6. I agree totally. In fact this year my own daughter had to work on Thanksgiving and we actually celebrated Thanksgiving with her yesterday. We had celebrated with my Husband's family in New Orleans on Thanksgiving day. I found out yesterday that she will have to work on Christmas as well. I am sure the CEO's will be warm and snug in their homes enjoying their family. We have progressed to a sad country. When I look back, I realize how wonderful growing up in the 60's were. Holiday's were holiday's and family time.

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  7. 110% agree with you, Kate. I work in retail. I hate holidays with a passion, because not only do I have to work at work, I have to work at home to get ready. It has ruined the holidays for me. I also agree with the previous commenters.

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  8. Since I didn't complain when grocery stores started being open because it was a convenience to me, I guess I shouldn't complain that other stores are open. I do think it's ridiculous, I don't think their over all sales go up. It just enables people to go to other stores on Friday instead.

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  9. It is just wrong. There is a store here in the New York area, PCRichards and sons that refuses to open on Thanksgiving. They run an add every year thanking their employees for the year of hard work. I think I'll do some shopping with them, just to show support.

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  10. Wow, that is bad. Here in Holland, we have 2 Christmas days, and on the first day, everything is closed, even a lot of restaurants. But on the second Christmas day (and Easter and "Pinksteren") all the malls are open, because I think people get bored of being indoors for two days. I never ever go shopping on those days, I hate crowds.

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  11. It makes me sad to see - we have lost the value of family time. Money, profit, and "making a buck" have all become very important. Now, as someone who needs a job and income, I understand money is important. But, I do believe that valuing home and family and down time were good things. I also find it interesting that people do a lot of this her instinct thing because they have been told they MUST HAVE the latest widget...you know the one that is better, faster, smaller, larger and more wonderful than last week's widget.

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  12. CORRECTION

    It was supposed to say Herd Instinct

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  13. I agree with all of you. Annette, you hit it on the head with the herd instinct mentality. If everyone is rushing to the sales, what's the problem, right? I feel like this country has been brain-washed. We're sheep. How sad. Aurian, you're lucky to have 2 days. AT least one of those days can be spent with family.

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  14. I worked for hospitals for 25 years and of course they don't close down for holidays, so everyone rotated and some of us switched. I'd work Christmas so those with kids could be home, and then we'd take New Years and head to Florida to visit my mom.

    What's really sad is hubby and I watched the 11 PM news on Thanksgiving night and they interviewed the crowds at one of the stores. Everyone kept saying it wasn't fair that the employees lost their holiday for the early opening, but they didn't say anything about not shopping on Thursday. They wanted those bargains. Greed isn't only on the corporate level :(

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  15. Being thankful is a characteristic of a religious and a moral people. Our nation has been straying from such attributes for about 30 years. Corporations only make money as the market demands. There is a huge market for stores being open on holidays because we the people patronize them. If giving thanks was a national priority, we wouldn't have a growing grey Thursday, while a day to give thanks for the abundance that we enjoy shrinks.
    Kate, I did celebrate cyber Monday by ordering a copy of your latest book as a gift :-)

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  16. I worked for the phone company for over 30 years and they never closed, someone always had to work. While I think that the stores should not be open on holidays, I wonder how many of the people who are upset about them eat dinner in a restaurant on a holiday.

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