Nov 20 2012

Let’s stop this Black Friday madness

Black Friday at Westfield San Francisco Centre 2009

Enough is enough.

Black Friday started out wacky enough — stores opening at 6 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving and offering sales. Over recent years, stores began opening at 4 a.m. or sooner, and folks started lining up outside stores so they could get that coveted item on their wishlist.

These days, some stores are staying open all night or worse: some stores are now offering door-buster deals on Thanksgiving Day.

For some, Black Friday shopping is a competitive sport, tradition, or social time. For some, deals found on Black Friday help someone purchase something they couldn’t otherwise afford.

In years past, people have died while shopping. Trampled to death. Shot. And for what? For saving $200 on a TV? For saving $30 on a toy? For owning a hard-to-find “hot” item?

We have lost our minds.

Thanks to the internet, what once began as Cyber Monday (hot online deals the Monday after Thanksgiving) has now stretched to the week leading up to Thanksgiving. Same with retail stores. We do not need to stand in crazy lines or camp out on Thanksgiving or trample someone to buy items on our list.

And even if we do want to go to a brick & mortar store (how about a locally owned shop?!) we do not need to go at ridiculous hours.

We gather on Thanksgiving Day with family and friends to reflect on our blessings. We share what we are thankful for over a hot meal, and many give thanks to God for His provision. We reflect on the Pilgrims and the Native Americans 400 years ago in our country’s history.

Later that day, (or the next day) we go berserk to consume more more more.

Retail workers often have no choice in whether they can have the day off, or what shift they will work. Sure, they earn time and a half but if your base pay is $8/hour, it isn’t going to go very far.

These employees are being put in stressful, sometimes dangerous positions and we consumers are to blame. If we didn’t show up, the stores would have no reason to open early.

Now. Giving gifts is one of my love languages. I enjoy picking out gifts for my family, and I do what I can to get a bargain. If folks want to bless someone else with a gift, I’m all for that. I’m all for saving money, too. I’ve already taken part in some online sales this year.

But ultimately, we have to consider the cost of our gift-giving.

Are we really willing to sacrifice family time to shop? Are we willing to make others sacrifice time with their families? Are we willing to die for the year’s hottest toy?

We as a nation need to consider what we value. Vote with our dollars and our feet.

Lord help us if we truly value things over people.

 (Photo shared thanks to Creative Commons license)

This post appeared in the Carnival of Personal Finance hosted by Narrow Bridge.



8 Responses to “Let’s stop this Black Friday madness”

  1. Well said!! I agree 100%. Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

  2. I went once, to Wal-Mart, and it was so stressful and icky-feeling that I don’t see myself going again, at least not to one of the big ones. I think it’s nuts that they’re starting sales on Thanksgiving, too.

  3. Amen. I really wish people would boycott shopping on Thanksgiving Day and anytime before 6am on Friday. Personally, I avoid shopping that entire weekend, just b/c no deal is worth the crowds. It’s all a little insane :)

  4. I’ll play devil’s advocate! I refuse to shop a doorbuster sale myself and keep my Christmas shopping very simple, but have no problem with stores being open. Business owners should have the freedom to open and close their doors when they want. And by accepting a retail job, you forfeit your right to bellyache about working busy times, especially if it’s a seasonal position! By taking a job, you agree to work when your employer asks you to. Stress is one thing and safety quite another, though, and there’s no justification for the desperation and greed that puts any other human’s life in danger.

  5. I have to disagree with Karen a little. Although businesses can and will be, of course, open whenever they like, their workers have every right to hate it. Many people working in entry-level retail, especially in seasonal jobs, are doing so because they have to in order to make ends meet, and it’s unlikely to be a career choice. And even with holiday pay, retail doesn’t usually pay well. They have the right to complain all they want — I’ve been in their shoes and it sucked. And it gets worse every year. Busy shifts and crazy shoppers are one thing, but missing time with loved ones is awful, and is too often a fact of life when finances are tight. I don’t go near any shopping centers Thanksgiving weekend because a.) it’s horrible out there, and b.) I don’t want to be a part of the demand that makes businesses want to be open insane hours on those days. I count myself very lucky that I’m in a situation where I don’t have to take a second job in retail. If I had a different living situation, I likely would need to. And I would indeed complain about missing Thanksgiving.

  6. I won’t shop on Thanksgiving. In fact I won’t even get up at a crazy hour to go shopping. I did get up at my regular time (6 am), took my time getting ready and eating breakfast and headed out about 7:15. I shopped for about 4 hours at a very leisurely pace. The stores were not crowded and I never had to wait in line for a register. It was actually a really nice shopping trip. I shopped within 20 minutes of my house – yes at many big box stores – but I am still supporting my local economy. It was a great!

    I do really dislike the Black Friday creep – I think stores should stay closed on Thanksgiving day completely.

  7. yah we should stop this black friday we couldnt sit all together and eat dinner my dougther had to go to work at 7:00 pm so they could get the store ready to open at 12:00,and she was told not to eat turkey becouse it would make her sleepy i was realy mad.thanksgiving is not what it use to be all you hear is black friday and what are you going to buy.so wile our kid or family members are ar work on thanksgiving the big head corporations are having their dinner with all of their family members.i realy wish we could stop this or move it to another day.well hope you all had a good thanksgiving.

  8. I completely agree with article. It is getting crazier every year and every year I refuse to stand in line or participate in what I call crazed consumerism.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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