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On Black Friday, consumerism, and privilege


I've never been one of those people who shops on Black Friday. No sale has ever seemed worth it for me to deal with the huge crowds, lines, rude behavior, etc. And I've never wanted to support a system that makes retail workers get up before dawn on the day after a holiday and work a ridiculously long and hard day. And this year, many retailers are kind of throwing Black Friday out the window, starting their sales on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, or earlier. Which means, of course, that retail workers no longer get that relaxing day off before having to deal with the throngs of shoppers, and no longer get to celebrate Thanksgiving or just a day off with their loved ones. That sucks.

I understand the condemnation of the rampaging crowds of consumers. I understand the distaste that many have that a holiday that is supposed to be about being thankful for what we've got has turned into a holiday about getting more, more, more. After all, it's the people who go out and shop on Black Friday/Thursday that make it worthwhile for the stores to be open. If everyone just refused to shop, retailers would quickly realize that it's not worth it to be open.

But I also have to recognize that I am privileged enough not to have to go to these sales to get the things I need/want. There are families that simply can't afford things like computers and cell phones (which are pretty much necessities of modern living and working) any other time of year. Families that just want to get their kids that one awesome toy they want this year, and can only afford the Black Friday/Thursday sale prices. Who the hell am I to condemn them for that?

There's a lot to think about when it comes to Black Friday/Thursday. The fact that workers are taken advantage of in the pursuit of more profits for the stores. The fact that for many Americans, getting a deal on some gadget is more important than a holiday that's supposed to be about gratefulness. But let's not lose sight of the fact that for some, this is the only time they can get some of the things that the rest of us take for granted. Maybe that's part of the real problem, and we should look at solutions that might help people to not have to scramble for deals on a holiday. And in the meantime, maybe everyone who's out shopping on Black Friday/Thursday can make an effort to be kind to those working, and everyone else.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
antiquehighheel
Nov. 28th, 2013 06:38 am (UTC)
Although I respect where you're coming from with this thought, I have to argue that the sales on Black Friday aren't the be-all, end-all. Honestly, it's not even all that much taken off. Although companies do a big push and make it seem like Black Thursday/Friday is the only day you can get a great deal, the same sales take place throughout December. The closer to Xmas you get, the better deals there are to be had because retailers become desperate to unload their merchandise. Black Friday is pretty much just a scam so companies can guarantee one day of huge profits for themselves. It's pure greed.
artemiswinter
Nov. 28th, 2013 07:54 pm (UTC)

That does seem to be true nowadays that the deals aren't even very good.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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