25 November 2013

Sucking all the fun out of Black Friday.

High school was my first experience with Black Friday.  I'm not sure I even knew it existed before that.  A bunch of friends & I stayed at one person's house & went shopping early in the morning.  I went two other times after Josh & I got married.  It was so much fun trying to go to sleep early & hoping to wake up in time to get there for the store opening.

6am standing out in the cold for Kohl's to open!  How exciting!  I got there at 5:50am & was one of the first 50 in the store.  I didn't end up buying anything because I didn't see anything I wanted to get for anyone for Christmas, but it was a ton of fun.

One year we went with two other couples to the outlets in Gatlinburg, TN. We all drove a friends parents huge SUV and left it unlocked while we filled the back with presents throughout the night.  The outlets opened at midnight so we stayed all night & got breakfast before driving back.  We were so tired, but it was so much fun.

When I was seven months pregnant I worked at a mall Chick-fil-A on Black Friday.  Let me tell you, it was a ton of fun!  I worked my butt off but being super busy like that-- it's my happy place.  We opened up at midnight (although they didn't make the pregnant lady take the midnight shift).  Yes, opening at midnight meant a few people had to come in at 10pm on Thanksgiving, but all the festivities were over by that point.

And to be honest, opening at midnight does mean that the workers have to get a nap on Thanksgiving instead of spending the whole day with their family, but it still wasn't the worst thing in the world.

But there are certain things that just suck all the fun out of it for me.  When the time creeps up by hours every year, it's alarming.  6am, 4am, midnight, 10pm, 6pm on Thanksgiving.

Black Friday?  I think it's fun.  It's more fun when people aren't complete crazies like we see more of every year.

Thanksgiving?  That's a different story.  If a store opens at 6pm on Thanksgiving, guess what time their employees have to be there to open the store?  4pm? 5pm?  And what happens next year?  Does the store open at 4pm?  And the next year?

And what about the stores that choose to open on Friday instead of Thanksgiving?  Will everyone be at home & in bed by the time they open?  Will they have to send their employees home because of lack of sales?

At what point does 'Black Friday' happen before Thanksgiving dinner?  Will it eventually lap over into Wednesday?  Honestly, I think I'd be more okay with that.  It's not that the time moves, it's when it encroaches on a time that we as a nation have always set aside to be with family.
Courtesy of Facebook.  Is this you?

I've heard two arguments that are compelling at first.  What about the people who don't have family & Thanksgiving is a depressing holiday?  Unfortunately, that's part of life.  And as terrible as that is, I don't think all the stores are opening earlier to help these people out.

The other argument a friend brought up is the people that want to work.  The ones that can't afford a day off.  I have two thoughts on that.  One, I've been there.  I've been in a place where we're spending $30 per week on food for two adults & getting 2 gallons of gas at a time because that's how much you can afford.  When banana & peanut butter sandwiches are a luxury that you only get on a good week.  But I feel like spending time with family is important.  God honoring.  And working extra jobs was sometimes the only way to make that happen, but it was worth it.

My other thought on that is that there are plenty of places that are open on holidays.  A lot of grocery stores, pretty much every restaurant, gas stations, fast food, nursing homes, hospitals, and other various places around town.  Every store doesn't need to open on Thanksgiving to make sure families can pay their bills.  And again, I'm fairly certain that stores aren't opening on Thanksgiving so their employees can make ends meet.  If they are that concerned about their employees, they would get paid time off for Thanksgiving.

I know, I know... there are a thousand different thoughts in everyone's head as they're reading it.  We can argue about it, or you can make your own choice & go with it.  If you support Black Thursday, then go shopping at every store you can & buy all you can.  If you don't support it, then please, don't shop on that day.  In fact, it's not hard to find stores that aren't opening on Thursday.  Support those!  Even if you choose to shop at Wal-Mart, though, they know what times people are shopping & they'll analyze that for next year.  Shop your conscience.  Or don't shop at all-- there's an idea, too!

And finally, please consider buying local this season!  Yes, it can be a bit more expensive, but when it truly supports your town, then it's a wonderful feeling!  Or... support a town that you love.  I may do some shopping in my hometown.  I don't live there anymore, but I do love & support it.

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