Thursday, November 22, 2012

Black Friday

                Ok, so maybe it’s just me here, but does anyone else find it incredibly ridiculous that Black Friday sales are starting earlier and earlier every year?  This year has been the worst I have seen to date. 

                Nearly as far back as I can remember, Black Friday has always been a part of my life.  Thanksgivings were always spent the same ways.  Originally it was at my paternal grandparents for lunch, and then on to my maternal grandparents for dinner.  Recently, it has changed to my aunt’s (on my father’s side) house for lunch and then onto my maternal grandparents for dinner.  No matter what way it started, it almost always ended the same way.  After dinner, desserts and coffee were served to the family.  Then the cleanup of dishes, silverware, tables, chairs and such followed suit.  Then, almost instantly, within a blink of an eye, the kitchen dining table was transformed into a war room.  Looking like a scene out of a World War II movie, the generals (my mother, aunt, sister and grandmother) would plan their strategic attacks.  Taking into account, better deals, price matching, fatigue, long lines and capacity of buildings, they went to work, finding what they thought to be the best course of action.  Now, this is the part I remember vividly, because I (yes, believe it or not) have taken part in a few of these excursions myself.  The time would come, almost always 3 AM, the alarms would sound, coffee would be brewed and the attack would commence.

                November, the third Friday of the month, 5 AM………..D-Day.  More commonly known as Black Friday.  They would execute their battle plans, only stopping once during the day for lunch and then at the end of the day to go over their spoils of war.  I can remember once specific occasion where I tagged along.  Our first stop was the destroyer of small business, Wal-Mart.  Upon arrival, we found that none of the specials would be available until exactly 5 AM.  The only part about this that was awkward was the fact that they had almost all the specials out, just covered up with garbage bags and plastic.  People were ripping the plastic open and taking the items ahead of time.  That’s when all hell broke loose.  Employees were telling people to stop, as more and more people cleared out the display.  My goal was to find a specific television.  I found this item on a pallet near the tire and lube center.  When I announced “Hey here are the TVs,” I was promptly ambushed by about 50 customers who gobbled up the merchandise.  That was just the start of my day, that took me to Target (where the police were, in order to make sure no one cut in line), Circuit City, Best Buy, the Wyoming Valley Mall, Boscovs, K-Mart, Wal-Mart again, Toys “R” Us and even Office Max.  When all was said and done, we had done a Tour de Wilkes-Barre, 3 times over.  After eating and stopping at a few other places, the day ended somewhere around 4 or 5 PM.  A very long day and nothing like I had ever seen before, when it came to shopping. 

                Crazy as that story and time frame seemed, it was a tradition in my family.  However, it seems that over the last two years, times for sales have been getting earlier and earlier.  Last year my mother and the crew left the house at 10 PM in order to hit places opening at midnight.  I just talked to my mom on the phone and this year, they are leaving at…………6:30 PM!!!!!!!!   WHAT?  Are you sure you will be finished with dinner at that point?  Jesus H Christ on a cracker, the first words out of my mouth was “Are you crazy?”  There is no way in my right mind I would waste my holiday standing in line.  Thanksgiving has always been about spending time with your family, it’s a lazy holiday.  Wear jeans, watch football, catch up and eat. 

                I truly 100% feel sorry for the poor souls that will be out there this evening, not the shoppers…..the workers.  As a retail veteran I have worked in one outlet or another for over 8 years.  Friends of mine have done the same, or are still working in retail.  They seem to get less and less time to spend with their family and for what?  A job that has ridiculous hours and still doesn't pay enough to make ends meet?  I would say that a good portion of retail workers are made up of college students.  A friend of mine (Sterry) and I had this conversation earlier in the week.  College kids go to school from September till December with little breaks in between.  With assignments and working during school it leaves little free time to do anything, let alone spend time with family and friends.  Now on one of the days that these kids get off to actually do just that, they are being forced to go in and work on a holiday at a insane time.  Let the kids have some time off.  I’m sure a few of you out there are saying, “Hey, it’s their choice to work that job.”  When really I’m not quite sure it is.  In this economy and with the way that a college students schedule can be, how the hell are they supposed to find a different job?  Especially one that can cater to their schedule so well, I mean they are kind of forced into the industry.  Mostly because service and retail are almost the only industries left in America.  This year has truly sickened me on the experience of after Thanksgiving shopping. 

                I’m not going to say that the shoppers are horrible people, or that they are destroying America.  Most of the shoppers will also be parts of my family and friends.  All that I ask is that the shoppers please keep one thing in mind.  Please treat the stores employees with a degree of respect and be grateful for them.  Sure, some of them are probably going to be dickheads, but wouldn't you if you were torn away from your family to come help ring out shoppers you don’t even know?

                With that in mind, I would personally like to wish everyone out there a Happy Thanksgiving.  Some people like to bash holidays saying that they are too commercialized and what not.  I for one will be taking this time and spending it with my family and loved ones.  Maybe we all need to take a moment today and reflect, even if you do it by yourself in your head, for all the things we are grateful for.  Just take a moment.   I hope everyone enjoys their holiday.  No matter what it holds.  Whether it be food, football, family or even………shopping.