I work in retail. I am not ashamed of it either. A job is a job. Working in retail has exposed me to one of the most insane American traditions in existence: Black Friday. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving when idiots flock to stores to buy cheap crap because it is such a good “deal”. Some of these people even go so far as to set up tents and camp out in front of their store of choice. That’s right, they are so pathetic that they choose to forgo Thanksgiving so that they can be the first to get their hands on junk they don’t need and likely wouldn’t want if it weren’t on super-duper, OMG sale!
I suppose it is immediately apparent how I feel about Black Friday. If you did not get the gist of it in the previous paragraph, I will spell it out for you here: I hate it. There is nothing more vile than the annual lemming run known as Black Friday. This year some retailers are taking it to a whole new level though.
You see, Target, Best Buy, Macy’s, and Kohl’s have all decided to open at midnight instead of the standard of 5:00 am. Wal-Mart is taking it even further by opening at 10:00 pm, but they are usually open 24 hours anyways. For those businesses that are opening at midnight, that means the employees have to be on scene by 10 or 11. So yeah, no Thanksgiving for them. To make matters even worse, most employees are expected to work a minimum of a 12 hour shift. It’s bad enough to ask them to be there before 5:00 am, but to ask them to be there from 10 at night to 10 in the morning is just ridiculous. Oh and don’t even think about calling in sick or even dead on Black Friday unless you want to lose your job. Seriously, try and find me a retail business that doesn’t consider working on Black Friday as being absolutely, 100% mandatory. No questions asked, no excuses accepted. If you don’t show, you forfeit your job. It really is that simple.
Fortunately for me, I got lucky this year. I do work for one of the places that is opening at midnight, but my particular job is not needed until normal business hours. I don’t have to be in until noon on Black Friday. I get a nice normal shift, but a lot of people don’t. So while it may not directly affect me, it does affect a lot of my friends. For them, I am particularly pissed about this cash grab.
So here is what I am hoping: complete and utter failure. I hope that extra 5 hours that these stores are open costs them more than what they bring in. These businesses are treating their employees like serfs. They are being told this year that their time with their families is not important. What is important is getting those doors and selling crap specifically made to be sold on Black Friday. That’s right, most of that “too good to be true” stuff you buy on Black Friday is a lesser quality version than you can buy the day before or the day after. I have never seen a $300 laptop sold on Black Friday that was worth more than$250. Why? Because the specs on those things are deliberately made to be inferior in order to fleece morons. All the mindless sheep see is a computer with a perceived low price tag!
So here is what I am asking from those who may happen to stumble across this post: don’t go! Please, for the love of all that is holy, don’t go. Should this year’s extravaganza succeed, then all retailers will do it next year. Think about that for a second. To get all the really good “deals” you will have to go at midnight from now on. You can effectively kiss a decent Thanksgiving goodbye at that point.
What you have been reading is my opinion. I realize some of my language may have been harsh. I also realize that some people believe that a retail worker gets what’s coming to him. If you didn’t want to be a slave to market pressures blah, blah, blah. I know all the talking points. Should you want to spout them in the comments, that is fine. I would prefer decent, respectable conversations though.