Have you driven by a big box store like Best Buy, Target or Wal-Mart and noticed something a wee bit odd? Are there people who have literally camped out in front of the stores with their tents, food supplies and creature comforts? And not just for one day but for two, three, four or even five? If so, then you have witnessed a very bizarre subculture and you have spotted a member of the “will do anything for a Black Friday deal” club.
And while some may applaud their thriftiness, I find the whole entire thing totally depressing. I’m going to put on my crotchety old lady hat (imagine me shaking my arthritic fist in the air) and say “back in my day, Thanksgiving was about food and family not getting $45 off a big screen TV, oh kids today!”
But many families don’t focus on the classic Thanksgiving fundamentals like relatives, football and a well-cooked bird, rather their priorities are about saving money on things they probably don’t need after being seduced by the big commercial push that is Black Friday. And there is a good reason for this new “holiday”; Black Friday is BIG business. According to the National Retail Federation, about 35 million Americans brave the chaos and hit the malls on Black Friday.
Last Sunday, five days before the biggest shopping day of the year, ABC spoke with a family in Burbank, CA who were already camped out in front of Best Buy, taking turns living in front of the store to be first in the door on Black Friday. And you know what’s even worse? Black Friday doesn’t actually start on Friday anymore. For many stores the sales actually start on Thursday! USA Today stated that “a kind of arms race has developed among retailers, and stores have opened their doors earlier and earlier each Friday.” Salon notes that stores are “openings as early as 6 p.m. Thursday at Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Kmart, and 8 p.m. at Target, Sears, Macy’s, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney.”
I don’t know about you but at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving day I am sitting and relaxing in a post turkey haze not jostling with the crowds to get that “door buster” deal. And it’s not just me who enjoys being with family on Thanksgiving, think about all the thousands of workers who have to report for duty to their retail jobs to support this shopping gluttony.
“People are concerned that this is just another trend toward consumerism trumps everything else,” stated Kim Bobo, the director of the Chicago-based Interfaith Worker Justice. “We could stop shopping for one day.” I couldn’t agree more.
What do you think of the Black Friday madness and how it has taken over Thanksgiving?
Photo Source: Wiki Commons/ Gridprop