For many of us who work retail and food services, the impending chaos of Black Friday awaits us on that dreaded Thanksgiving night.
As if food coma and school-related obligation weren’t enough to induce some sort of mental exhaustion, the very existence of the notorious past time forces thousands of working college students away from family and friends at a time designated for giving thanks.
The cringe worthy image of desperate mobs seeking to get their hands on discounted appliances leaves a bad taste for those of us who were unlucky enough to pick up the aftermath. Black Friday is the momentous past time in which retail workers can ridicule the amount of lunacy that exists in this world, a lunacy epitomized by turkey fueled shoppers willing to die over a TV.
The American-derived pastime is counter intuitive in nature as it gives people the incentive to rush for materialistic gain just hours past a holiday that celebrates the appreciation of happiness that money cannot buy.
Aside from the total buffoonery that exists around the wee hours of Black Friday, an increasing number of retailers have been opening their doors at much earlier hours, often falling on Thanksgiving night. Big names such as Target, Walmart, Macy’s, and Best Buy have relied on the presence of their employees, many of which are college-aged adults, to ensure their business is open on Thanksgiving night.
For those of us who work retail, the hiring process involves contracts that restrict us from taking days off from the deeply deplored past time. As a result, these blackout periods leave little room for having any significant influence on one’s holiday schedule and little control over whether or not we’ll get to spend time with family during our short Thanksgiving break.
On a more positive note, the projected number of individuals who shop on Black Friday is expected to drop as indicated by National Retail Federation, which reported a 15 percent drop of Black Friday shoppers in the years between 2014 and 2015.
This is perhaps influenced by the proliferation of online shopping during the holiday season. This gives an opportunity for retailers to leave behind the unethical practice of opening on Thanksgiving, prompting people to stay at home and celebrate the happiness that money cannot simply buy and giving employees the option to take the holiday off.
Amidst the declining participation of Black Friday Shopping and the convenience of online shopping, retailers such as H&M, Costco, and Ikea have taken a more progressive route by choosing to keep their doors closed on Thanksgiving. Interestingly enough, retailers such as REI have made the decision to close their doors on Black Friday as part of a growing initiative deemed “#optoutside,” which encourages its employees and members to take part in activities outside of the confines of the mall during the holidays.
The outdoor and fitness-oriented company’s bold move proved to change the scheme of marketing in demonstrating the act of valuing the individual employee while also encouraging their customers to take upon more active lifestyles.
For those of you who plan to go shopping on Friday night, there will be better deals that fall outside of Black Friday, the best gifts are the ones that come from the heart, and the time spent with family will forever be priceless. If given the chance, focus your post-Thanksgiving energies outside of the mall. Go ice skating, visit the Christkindlmarket in downtown, or get wasted with friends.
If you are working this Black Friday, stay hydrated, make sure to bring a surplus of food, wear comfortable shoes, and take short mental breaks if you have to. Remember to never take anything personally amidst the personal attacks spewed out by total strangers and appreciate those who take their time to ask about your day.