Friday, November 18, 2011

Changing the Traditions of Black Friday

I’m a little annoyed about Black Friday this year.

Last year, after Black Friday, I wrote a blog complaining about how irritating it was that Walmart had two sales- one at midnight on Black Friday and one at 4 a.m. Due to the midnight sale, those of us who got up early to make the 4 a.m. sale were screwed out of most of the good bargains. I know it served both me and my sister right for being lazy for not wanting to stay up really late after a day of spending time with the family, helping cook a massive meal, wrangling dogs and entertaining children. Instead, we chose to sleep a little and then got up super early to go to the Walmart 4 a.m. sale and then go onto the other 5 a.m. sales.

So, imagine my irritation this year now that Black Friday has become Black Thanksgiving. Walmart is now starting their sale at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Toys R’ Us are starting at 9 p.m. Never mind the fact that some people actually want to spend the day eating turkey and relaxing with family without having to plan on how they’re going to be able to make it to the store at 9 p.m. in order to try to compete for bargains.

I suppose the easiest thing for me to do would be to just shut up and not bother going to the sales if I really am that irritated at it.

It’s just that, well, I don’t like having to make that decision. Most of the stores are opening at midnight this year- Target and Macy’s come to mind. This means that shoppers can celebrate Thanksgiving and then, after probably drinking wine with their meal, heading out to wait in line for the stores to open. Alternatively, they can spend a portion of their day sleeping so they are refreshed in order to go out and about and shop.

Either way, it seems a little bit rude to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Ironically, I’m British. My family wasn’t raised with Thanksgiving. We only started celebrating it because we moved to the States and it was part of the culture. Now we celebrate because we have American ‘interlopers’ in the family who do celebrate.

Still, given that Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time for relaxing, reflecting, spending time with family and/or friends and, you know, BEING THANKFUL, isn’t it a little disrespectful to interrupt the day making people have to decide between tradition and bargains?

I’m not the only one who thinks so. A Target employee from Nebraska started a petition online requesting that Target open at 5 a.m. like always because opening at midnight is ruining Thanksgiving for the employees who have to work.

I agree with him. I don’t work at Target but I did work in a video rental store that was open 365 days a year and, let me tell you, it sucks to have to bolt down your Thanksgiving dinner and then go listen to people complain because you don’t have a copy of “Dumb and Dumber” in stock. It also sucks if you go home and you have to have your Thanksgiving dinner reheated on the plate ‘cause you had to work while everyone else in the family had time to eat.

Also, it’s just awkward timing because there are stores opening at 5 a.m. Now the choice becomes do you want to go do some shopping on Thanksgiving night, get home at 1 or 2 a.m. sleep for two hours and go back out or do you want to stay up all night?

Either way, I don’t like it. I’m not a late night person, I prefer to get up early and get out and about. I liked it when people called my sister and I crazy but getting up at 3:15 a.m. in order to get to Walmart and be there when it opened at 4 a.m. Sure, it was crazy but it was the beginning of a day where we’d move on to other stores, pause for lunch somewhere and be done by 2 p.m. Now, if we follow this plan, most of the stores opening at midnight or earlier will most likely be out of the doorbuster bargains and it really won’t be any different to shopping on a regular day.

I’m disappointed, I admit. Granted, in the grand scheme of things, it’s a small thing to be disappointed about. It’s just that like Thanksgiving itself, the 4 a.m. shopping trips were tradition for my sister and I and I don’t like it when people mess with tradition. I love the time with my sister because we don’t get to go out together as much as we used to and this has become our day.

I just don’t like that it’s not a straight shot anymore. You can either eat turkey, shop, go to bed and get up again, you can eat turkey, run to Walmart, run home, sleep for three hours and then go out again or you can skip the sleep entirely and most likely be quite unpleasant the next day.

Still, even with the petition, the circulars are printed and the store hours are set, at least for this year. The sad part is that now the stores have changed the tradition, they’re probably going to keep the new one for a while.

Is it so wrong that I want to enjoy my Thanksgiving day without having to think about fighting people in Walmart for a $3 chopper a few hours after eating my turkey?

Happy Friday and thanks for reading!

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