Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My thoughts on Black Friday

For those of you who don't know, I worked in retail for over 7 years across a variety of stores. The only time that I did not work a black Friday was my last year in retail, but for those other 6 years I braved the insanity of the retail centers and went off to work. It wasn't really that bad, except some of the customers at the first place I worked at. They were less than fun to deal with, even less so during the holidays.

But to be honest, it wasn't that horrible, back in the days of working at 5 am for the ten people who had been waiting since midnight to get a few items for a couple dollars cheaper.

Nowadays, I'm no longer working retail, but I've seen so many commercials that I felt I had to speak out. When you're working retail for any corporation, there are only a few days during the year that you get off. Thanksgiving is one that is give and take, it depends on the company you are working for. I worked Thanksgiving at my first job, and typically we saw only a couple of people coming out because they needed one or two items for Thanksgiving dinner, or people who just didn't care that it was Thanksgiving. It was a quiet day for the few people working, and typically the company kept hours short so that the workers could go home and spend some time with their families, and they fed us (big thing when you're a high schooler/college student).

Now, with Black Friday now starting Thursday night, those same workers who would normally be getting an easy day are going to be forced to handle hordes of post-Thanksgiving dinner shoppers, and even in some cases pre-Thanksgiving shoppers depending on the store. There are some stores that are posting Black Friday sales at 6 am on Thursday.

In my opinion, this is just wrong. Why do we need 2 full days of "Black Friday"? Why do we even need to have 24 hours of Black Friday? It's fine if it's a retail giant that stays open 24 hours a day normally, but when you start talking about keeping up employees who normally work days having to get up at 11 pm to be to work at midnight, you're not only throwing off their normal schedule even worse than if you had them getting up at 4 to be to work by five. You're taking away whatever "holiday time" they were going to have with their families, or even just digging into the the time off they they need.

The holiday shopping season just keeps getting more and more ridiculous, and all to fuel the consumerist society. I have had more people than I could count come up to me and say they were sorry I was working.

If you feel bad about a retail worker working on a holiday the rest of America has off, don't go out shopping that day. Years and years ago, everyone had these holidays off, but the corporations are destroying what few days everyone should have off.


But otherwise, I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving, eats lots of turkey and pumpkin pie, and gets to enjoy a little bit of time off.



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