America, is this really what we’ve come to in order to save a few bucks?
Black Friday has been around since the 1960s. The original term was coined to mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Since then, people have taken the words Black Friday to mean, do all of your Christmas shopping in the same day and take no prisoners.
As a child, I was a religious Black Friday shopper with my mother. I’ve seen it all. I watched an elderly lady steal a Christmas tree from me at age eight. I watched one mom punch another mom over an original Furby. I’ve seen parents play tug of war with a Tickle Me Elmo, and I’ve encountered some really rude people. The one thing I remember thinking as a child is, “Am I crazy? Or are these people crazy?”
Don’t get me wrong, the whole experience was an adrenaline rush for sure, and I always got what went out for, because if you’re going to subject yourself to the madness, you might as well come out a champion. However, as I’ve got older, things are changing, and this “holiday” seems almost ridiculous.
Black Friday is no longer a Friday only event with stores opening at 8pm on Thanksgiving night. Workers have been asked to sacrifice their Thanksgiving, a holiday where we’re supposed to give thanks and celebrate what we have, for greedy shoppers trying to save an extra dollar. It’s a little ironic that we’re sacrificing a holiday that observes thankfulness for materialism. Stores say they’re opening on Thanksgiving due to consumer demand, but let’s be serious it’s more like consumer acceptance. The same amount of people showed up for Black Friday before it was Black Thursday.
What are a couple tips for staying safe?
Stake out the Merchandise in Advance. Check out the merchandise in advance. Know what you want to get and where it will be located. Go to the store early, ask the attendants where the line for the product you want will be and station yourself there.
Take Backup. There are safety in numbers. Take a friend or family member shopping with you. Instead of using your cell phone to communicate, take two-way radios to stay in contact. Many stores have bad service. Plus with two of you, there’s more of a chance you’ll get what you want.
Be nice, there will be more sales. Tempers will be running high, especially if the person ahead of you takes the last TV or iPad. Remember, you’re shopping for an inanimate object. It’s not worth injuring someone over. Black Friday isn’t the only day there are sales; there will be discounts on popular items all the way through the end of the year.
Shoppers aren’t the only people who suffer consequences on Black Friday. You don’t have to be a shopper to experience the jungle. Workers are just as at risk as shoppers who put themselves in that situation. Christina Maust used to work at Sears in Morgantown. She says after working retail on Black Friday, she will never shop during the “holiday.”
“I worked for a major retail chain during college and my first black friday as a manager I came back from lunch to find my co-workers being screamed at by a customer,” explained Maust. “I took over and it turns out the lady’s husband had purchased a piece of jewelry during the deals that morning. I sold it to him and he was very aware of what he was buying but he just wanted to find something for his wife for Christmas and be done. When she found out that what he had purchased was gold plated and not solid gold she came back demanding not only to get her money back but to receive a several hundred dollar diamond and solid gold bracelet for just 90.00 because my lies and trickery misled her husband to buy something “fake”. I said no, and she threw the bracelet as well as a stack of flyers at me. Eventually the store manager got involved. She walked out with the several hundred dollar bracelet for the price she wanted and called me names I’ve never even heard before. I’ve never been so close to walking out of a job before. I even had other witnesses saying they could not believe what I was allowed to take and that not only was the customer not escorted out by security but got what she wanted in the end. I now refuse to shop/support black friday after being on the other end.”
So is Black Friday worth it?
Experts say to remember that cheap junk is often just that, junk. They also say to remember that time is money. Evaluate your efforts—the lost sleep, the long lines, how much you’re actually saving, and the cold weather. After that evaluation does it seem worth it? If so, go for it.
Boycotting Black Friday may or may not be the answer, but thinking about how your acting in the heat of the action is important. Is that five dollar cheaper crock pot really worth a trip to jail?