‘Black Friday’ Blues? It’s About Respect

This post is for all those darlin’s who dutifully camp out in front of their favorite retail store at some ungodly hour of the morning so they can catapult inside and enjoy the annual trample of Let’s Make a Deal. Just one word here. Okay, make it three: Shame on you.

Tractor in fall fieldSpare me the arguments about how some people need the extra work over Thanksgiving. Boost to the economy. Black Friday is the best chance to stretch scarce dollars, scoop up some bargains. Save a buck. Make a buck. Get thrown under a bus. Yada, yada, yada. Personal favorite: Don’t judge those who shop or work on Thanksgiving.

Why not?!

In Short Supply

If there’s anything that’s in short supply around Black Friday, it’s sound judgment.  Especially with those who haven’t yet figured out how their actions and choices effect others, particularly those who get to work for “Show up for your shift or get fired” charmers.  Ergo: While you’re sitting down around the family dinner table to dive into that golden-brown bird or last luscious slice of pumpkin pie, remember that by patronizing such establishments a few hours before or later, you’re effectively depriving someone else of same.

Do those who bag that great Black Friday or “open on Thanksgiving Day” deal realize that some retail employee had to be on the floor at 4:00 a.m. – or earlier – to make that happen? Or that pushing Black Friday into Brown Thursday essentially deprives said employees of most – if not all – of their Thanksgiving holiday?

Keep an eye out for flying pigs.

Writes  Peggy Noonan in Stay Home, America:

The rationale for the opening is that this year there are fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and since big retailers make a lot of their profits during that time something must be done. I suppose something should. But blowing up Thanksgiving isn’t it.

There has been a nice backlash on the Internet, with petitions and Facebook posts. Some great retailers have refused to be part of what this newspaper called Thanksgiving Madness. Nordstrom won’t open on Thanksgiving, nor will T.J. Maxx, Costco or Dillard’s. P.C. Richard & Son took out full-page ads protesting. The CEO was quoted last week saying Thanksgiving is “a truly American holiday” and “asking people to be running out to shop, we feel is disrespectful.” Ace Hardware said, simply: “Some things are more important than money.”

That is the sound of excellent Americans.

DB Dude, BF Babe

“Excellent Americans?” You bet. Sorry, but Door Buster Dude and Black Friday Babe don’t qualify. They can, however, be proud that their lack of planning or self-centered materialism and yes, disrespect, are forcing someone else to forego their family holiday so they can make or save an extra buck. Here’s a thought: Make it or save it some other day. Excluding Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, you’ve only got 362 others from which to choose. Or shop on-line instead.

As for the geniuses among us who declare, straight-faced, “If they don’t like it, they can quit.” Yeah. That’s such an attractive, realistic option in today’s economy. Close second: “Hope those who have to work make a ton of money.” Newsflash: Some things are more important than money. Ditto the brain surgeon who recently sniffed that he has “no problem with an employer forcing an employee to work on Thanksgiving,”  because “that’s the employer’s prerogative.”  Fine. But is it worth sending employee morale through the floor?  And I thought the 13th Amendment was still in effect.  (But who cares, Dude, so long as you get your “deal”?)

Bottom line: If there weren’t any customers on Thanksgiving Day or the day after, stores and restaurants wouldn’t be open because it wouldn’t be profitable to do so.  And retail and service industry employees, some of whom have no choice about working the holiday, can do what you do: spend Thanksgiving with the fam. Sabrina Helm, Associate Professor of Retailing and Consumer Sciences at the University of Arizona, put it this way:

“Opening ever-earlier on Thanksgiving Day will not impede the progress of online shopping but will certainly make for newsworthy stories of consumer misbehavior while further alienating those who believe that well-being of families is not increased by buying, but by sharing.”

So stay home today. Throttle up next week. While you’re at it, how ’bout some respect?


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