From the Editor’s Desk: Bleak Friday adventure
My Black Friday tradition started when I was in high school. The fact that my parents allowed me out past 11 p.m. was thrilling—they were giving me the freedom and opportunity to spread my wings and buy. And buy I did. My first Black Friday, I waited outside my local Walmart freezing my giblets off perusing my coupon booklet with great gusto. A GPS system? “Clue” the board game 50 percent off? And the holy grail: an Xbox 360 bundle with two controllers and Viva Piñata for under $200. Unlike most individuals I know, I enjoy chasing these items—being the first to grab that Xbox off the shelf and going “nah nah nah nah boo boo” to the suburban housewife who wanted three for all of her children. You don’t need three.
Part of the magic, besides the unbelievable sales, is the pursuit—the massive line waiting and the chance to burn off those calories you accrued at Thanksgiving dinner. This year provided some of the same joys, but with one key problem. Black Friday happened on Thursday. I called that local Walmart this year around 8:30 p.m.
“When do you open for Black Friday deals?”
“An hour ago.” … What?
Not only did Walmart open during my Thanksgiving dinner, they also distributed tickets for some of the items of interest before they even put them on the shelves. The deal was they would introduce new items at 8 p.m., 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. But without giving anyone a chance to claim the items when they opened at 10, they guaranteed those in line hours before—so you would have to arrive hours beforehand.
This interferes with what I consider to be the No. 1 family occasion. A Black Thursday tore retail workers away from their homes to stock and prepare at Walmart, possibly one of the dreariest places in America.
Commercialism has disrupted traditionalism for decades in this country and while I participated, I never thought that big business would show so little compassion as to not allow their employees any Thanksgiving holiday.
I understand that perhaps this system cuts down on any accidents that may occur, but perusing the web the next day, Black Friday looked just as chaotic. This change only benefited business seeking and squeezing more money from consumers at the expense of those performing the manual labor. I fervently admire all those who worked Black Friday, and I hope that next year, you’ll be in your beds, away from the chaos.