The hunt for bargains seems to be a pretty positive idea, but there is a flip side to the equation when it comes to Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Twenty-four hours for shopping, and sometimes even longer, affects shoppers and workers alike, and not necessarily in a good way.
We all love getting a bargain, and that is the crux of the matter regarding Black Friday. Retailers recognize a great opportunity to move more merchandise when buyers line up for bargains, and more and more shoppers are now willing to wade into crowds in the middle of the night in order to save money.
The concept of Black Friday has become so popular that those advertised “super deals” are now available in an increasingly large number of stores beginning at the stroke of midnight at the close of Thanksgiving Day. Some stores have even decided recently to open for business at 10:00 p.m. on the evening of Thanksgiving Day.
Black Friday ad information is “leaked” in advance so that consumers can plan their strategy for being first in line for whatever item(s) are most desired. The problem with being “first in line” is that shoppers must rest sometime during the day on Thanksgiving in order to be alert for driving and shopping during the nighttime hours.
It used to be mainly the essential workers in hospitals, fire and police departments, emergency care facilities, nursing homes and the like who were required to be away from their families on the Thanksgiving holiday. Not so anymore. An increasing number of non-essential workers must now troop to their jobs in shopping centers on that day or perhaps work online from their homes for computer firms that handle purchase orders for customers.
All of this means that many families and workers can no longer spend the kind of quality holiday time together on Thanksgiving that could be devoted to it in the past. At some time during the holiday festivities many find themselves needing to bow out and get some rest so that they are able to function well for shopping or for that very busy work shift they will be working throughout the night.
When the Friday-after-Thanksgiving shopping phenomenon began some years ago, the stores would usually open at about 6:00 a.m., with early bird specials extended throughout the morning hours. The “power shoppers” could still get a good night’s rest and be ready for a full day of shopping, and workers could show up for their work shift at a reasonable hour. That seemed to work well, and cash registers rang merrily on that day of the year.
Things changed when somewhere along the way retailers decided that they needed to sell more goods, at a faster rate, requiring being open for longer hours. It appears that in retailing, beating competitors by whatever means that it takes is now the order of the day.
As that change took place, the very traditional family holiday and day set aside for thanksgiving has also changed. In my opinion, it has not been changed for the better, and it would seem that since Black Friday is now well-entrenched as an American custom, the change is probably irrevocable.
So here is my ode to Thanksgiving Day – I’m glad I knew you before the advent of Black Friday. Although my own family will still be able to enjoy family time for the entire day, we will feel a tinge of sadness for those who can’t, or by choice, won’t be doing the same.
Source: Personal opinion