Black Thursday – Super Shopping Opportunity or Greed at its Finest?

Family Matters on 11.18.11
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Photo: lululemon athletica/Creative Commons

Normally, I strongly support the pursuit of shopping in all forms, whether online, mail-order, via carrier pigeon or in an actual store. I've never really understood the draw of Black Friday shopping because it involves many of my least favorite things, particularly sleep deprivation, massive crowds and insane parking situations. I do acknowledge that many people find it to be the perfect way to kick off the season and support them wholeheartedly in their endeavors, although sporting a bike helmet might not be a bad idea if your heart's desire is a big-screen TV.

Recent announcements by big box retailers that Black Friday will be spilling into Thanksgiving Day have me (and much of the rest of the country) wondering exactly when Turkey Day ceased to matter as a stand-alone holiday. I understand completely that stores are anxious to spur sales in a down economy, but does an extra few hours really make that much of a difference in the long run, particularly since it compromises the integrity of one of my favorite food-related holidays?

Here, in no particular order are a few reasons (some serious, others not so much) that Black Thursday really irks me:

1. Thanksgiving is for acknowledging one's blessings publicly, while simultaneously gorging on more food than is really safe in one sitting. For many people, Thanksgiving Day marks the one day a year that they truly appreciate the good things in life. Call me old-fashioned if you want -- I just wish it would stay that way, rather than being reduced to another holiday shopping day.

2. Did anyone ask the employees what they wanted? For plenty of these retailers, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day were the only "givens" in terms of days off from frothing-at-the-mouth holiday shoppers. Now, they have to put their uniforms on and go to work at horrible hours, rather than passing out in front of "It's a Wonderful Life" like the Pilgrims intended. I know that some people think these employees should just be grateful that they have a job in this economy, but since most of them aren't getting paid the big bucks I don't think it's too much for them to enjoy a day off here or there.

3. Black Friday shoppers are normally enthusiastic, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, to say the least. Now, with many of these stores opening at 10 p.m. or 12 a.m. on Thanksgiving, they'll be exhausted and testy following a long day of cooking and eating. Getting behind the wheel or coming face-to-face with other shoppers just seems like a zombie movie waiting to happen. Drive at your own risk.

Obviously, I'm sure there are readers out there who are overjoyed by the extension of store hours - I'm just not one of them. To those of you that decide to brave the crowds, I wish you safety, sales and shopping bliss. I'll be the pregnant chick hanging out in my jammies, patronizing my favorite online retailer, provided they're offering free shipping. Don't even get me started on my feelings about shipping fees - we'd be here all night.

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Tags: Holidays