Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Madness

Black Friday is quite possibly one of the stupidest American traditions that has evolved in recent memory. And as it keeps revolving, it keeps getting more and more ridiculous. This year is no exception as several large retail stores have decided that it's a good idea to open late at night on the actual day of Thanksgiving for "Black Friday". If you've already figured out that opening on a Thursday for an event with "Friday" in the name is asinine, then you're going to love everything about this story.

Wal-Mart has decided that it will open at 8pm on Thanksgiving. There's no real reason for this that makes any sense. It's not like it's going to attract more shoppers. I'm under the impression that you're either the type who wants to go Christmas shopping as soon as you can or you're not. (And really, the Black Friday "deals" that are advertised are really bordering awfully close to being a scam. There are usually only one or two of a certain item at each store for the advertised bargain price. And the items aren't usually as great as they want you to think that they are. You want to pay only $300 for a laptop? Go right ahead. But if you think that your bargain priced $300 laptop is going to work as well as my $800 laptop, think again. That $300 laptop is probably overpriced at $300.) Really, I don't know if shoppers are excited about this or not. But I do know who is not excited about it and that would be the workers.

Some employees of Walmart are flipping out that they have to go into work so that the store can open at midnight. Something about them not being able to spend time with their families. Now, I know absolutely nothing about opening a Walmart store and I know equally as much about working at Walmart. But I do know that opening at midnight shouldn't cut into one's Thanksgiving festivities by that much. Should it? I understand not wanting to go into work on a holiday. I also understand that there are jobs out there where you have to go into work on a holiday. (I worked one of those jobs for 13 years. Hospitals don't care if it's Thanksgiving or not. It's part of the job.) And if you have one of those jobs, you shouldn't really be all that surprised when you're expected to be there on a holiday. But apparently, folks who are working at Best Buy and Target feel differently about all of this than I do.

I'm not so sure that when the unemployment rate in this country is still hovering around eight percent that anyone should be complaining about what their job wants them to do. Shouldn't these folks be happy that they have a job? And really, is going into work at midnight that big of a deal? I don't see how that is going to cut into someone's Thanksgiving time with their family. What time do those people eat, anyway? You have an early dinner, you take a nap afterwards if you're so inclined, and then you show up when you're supposed to. I am not sympathetic to the workers who think that they're being mistreated by having to show up at midnight or 10pm or whatever on Thanksgiving. Yes, I guess it sucks (although I'm still not real clear as to why or how it sucks), but that's kind of how life works. Sometimes, things suck. Sometimes, your work is going to want you to do stuff that you'd rather not do. Am I the only one who understands that concept? I feel like I am.

And really, is anyone surprised that it's come down to this? The way I see it, Thanksgiving is becoming just a huge inconvenience for people who want Christmas to be here NOW. It's become a holiday that everyone just rushes through so that they can get to the Christmas shopping. For years now, people have been lining up outside of stores on Thanksgiving evening to wait until the store doors open at 5am or some other ungodly hour. Those folks don't seem to give a fat rat's ass about being at home on Thanksgiving, so why should the stores? I'm not saying that I agree with that philosophy. I'm just saying that I can see why it's come down to this.

Personally, I think that the whole Black Friday thing has kind of jumped the shark. Trust me, if a store offers a good enough deal but doesn't open their doors until 6am the day after Thanksgiving, there will still be people in line. Do they really think that those extra six hours are going to make or break their bottom line? I don't get it. Then again, the last thing in the world that I would want to do is to line up outside of a store, at night and in the cold so that I can be amongst a swarm of people and attempt to SHOP. Ugh. I don't want shop period, let alone under those circumstances. But good luck to all of you people who think that you're accomplishing something. I hope that works out for you. As far as all of you complaining retail workers, suck it up.

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