There’s No Black Friday Deal Good Enough To Justify Ruining Thanksgiving
You all got a taste of my feelings about the rampant materialism of the holiday season when I wrote about Elf on the Shelf. It truly saddens me to see the meaning of this time of year lost in a sea of greed and excess. I am not even talking about the religious aspect- I mean simply the idea of spending time with family and appreciating one another while reflecting on the year gone by. I have never been a fan of Black Friday but now, more than ever, it makes me ragey. Black Friday has slowly, over the years, turned into Black Thanksgiving. Some retail stores open for the morning of Thanksgiving to nab early shoppers while others (*ahem*, Macy’s) plan to open around 6 pm on Thanksgiving day. This, to me, is abhorrent and flies directly in the face of what this time of year is supposed to be about.
Of course there are people in some industries that have to work on holidays- police officers, fire fighters, doctors- my own parents work in healthcare so I had many a major holiday growing up without one of them around because it was their year to work Thanksgiving or Christmas. Restaurant workers are subject to working holidays too- which I also think is terrible- but yes, people do like to go out to eat on holidays and I suppose I can understand that. I just cannot grasp forcing minimum wage employees to work all night long or even, immediately after their Thanksgiving dinner, so selfish jerks can buy a cheap, big-screen TV. I don’t think any deal is good enough to justify what the “new” Black Friday and it’s overall vibe is doing to Thanksgiving.
This is all aside from the fact that consumers are basically tricked each year into thinking that Black Friday has the best deals of the season. This is simply not the case. It is a well-known fact among savvy shoppers that even better deals crop up as the season continues and that door busters are often just that- something to get people in the door. When the stores run out of the scant number of those items they have in stock, people who came out in the middle of the night for a particular item inevitably decide to buy something else so their efforts are not totally fruitless. Not to mention, the fact that we have Amazon and the rest of the internet. I got some of my best prices on gifts last year by scouting them on the internet and was usually able to wrangle free shipping to boot.
I know some people have traditions surrounding Black Friday- I have family members that truly enjoy that time together and that is bonding for them just as much as Thanksgiving dinner is for others. I don’t begrudge them that- I have fun shopping with my mother, grandmother, aunt and cousins as well. I just don’t see why we have to keep creeping it back earlier and earlier. At this rate, stores will eventually be open all day long on Thanksgiving in order to top the competition. I think that is a terrible future to contemplate, but sadly, it is inevitable.
I think the only way to put a stop to this madness and to save Thanksgiving and it’s meaning is for consumers to rise up and refuse to participate on the grounds that it is morally wrong and hurtful towards the employees and their families who have to deal with this (sometimes dangerous) yearly tradition. I don’t see why stores can’t just agree that opening at 7 am on Friday is fine and refuse to do it any earlier. I know it won’t happen as long as the money is flowing in but a curmudgeonly, old-school girl can dream. By the fire, on Thanksgiving, with my husband and kids- remembering the things I am truly thankful for.