My first Black Friday experience began four years ago along the side of a tall, brick-walled Old Navy store. My friend and I got to know that wall pretty well — considering we stood by it for a good hour continually lashed by the violently cold November wind. When the line began to move and we rounded the corner of the building, the front of the store and its glowing doorway looked like the light at the end of a long tunnel. We shopped quickly and tactfully only to stand in line for another two hours to checkout; but we weren’t complaining. It was the beginning of a tradition.
Just by its name, it’s obvious that Black Friday’s reputation isn’t admirable. But this year, the amount of public criticism has risen to frustrating levels. Whiners cry out, defending the Thanksgiving holiday, and are outraged at department stores like Walmart and Best Buy that open at 6 p.m. on Thursday. They say Thanksgiving is a day on which we are historically supposed to gather with family and friends with grateful hearts, appreciative for all the world has given us.
I suspect, however, that those who criticize Black Friday in the name of this day o’ thanks are the same people who avidly support Valentine’s Day and the celebration of love. Sure, they are well-intentioned holidays — but aren’t love and thankfulness virtues we should celebrate every day? It shouldn’t take the allure of an oven-roasted turkey and a warm pumpkin pie to bring people together once a year to share thanks.
Being thankful should be a daily practice, without incentive.
Now, I have a question. Black Friday bashers, are you under the assumption that you have to attend the shopping festivities? The lines, the spending — they’re not mandatory. And, if you are a Black Friday fanatic like myself, you don’t have to arrive moments or hours before stores open. I’m not heading out until midnight, because doing so means I don’t have to stand outside — a soldier in Jack Frost’s army.
I do understand the upset that, for some, early store openings pull family members from their homes early to work. It’s unfortunate. But as harsh as it may sound, that’s just part of the wonderful, or not-so wonderful, world of retail. If you work in retail, you have to be willing to play the game and plaster a fake smile on your face to pass go.
I’d also like to point out that Walgreens and K-Mart are open all day on Thanksgiving and have been for as long as I can remember. Think of those unfortunate workers. Where are the fire-lit torches outside those establishments? There aren’t any because they are go-to stops for the forgotten whipped cream or overlooked rolls. So, if someone in your family has to work in the evening, put the bird in a little earlier and feast around noon.
Lastly, I must defend myself and my fellow Friday frolickers against the labels often glued upon us. Just because someone partakes in Black Friday shopping does not mean he or she is materialistic. Please, take a moment to read that last part a second time. More often than not, participants are shopping for the fun of it, managing to save a few bucks in the process.
We’re not the monsters who trample one another for bargains, and I’ve never witnessed anything close to such inhumane savagery in my own experiences.
If you frown upon Black Friday, I challenge you to test the waters before you knock it any further. Download one of the several available Black Friday apps and join the exhilarating, Friday thrill at a time of your choosing.