Black Friday

I am not a Black Friday fan.

I think it’s mainly due to the fact that I am somewhat claustrophobic/agoraphobic and even seeing the crowds on TV spikes up my anxiety to unpleasant levels.   If someone wants to get up at 3 am and sit in the cold to wait for a “deal”, knock yourselves out.  Me, I’m going to stay in my nice warm bed and dream of cozy evenings in curled up with a book in front of a fire while snuggling in my wool Aran sweater and sipping from a mug of hot chocolate.

This year, though, it seems that Thanksgiving is about to be forgotten.  Stores are now opening on Thanksgiving evening.  This troubles me.

The retailers say that they are “responding to customer demand”.  I call bull on that.   The retailers create the demand because they know that there will always be a group of people who will show up if they think they can save a buck.   It’s very Pavlovian.   Instead of salivating at the sound of a bell, these people do crazy things if they think they will save a buck.

A lot of these “deals” are loss leaders to lure you into the stores so you spend more money.  So unless you just go in for that one thing, you’re not saving money.  A lot of these deals aren’t as great as the stores make them out to be.  More often than not, if you wait a few weeks when retailers are becoming more desperate to reduce their inventories, you can get a better deal than you would on Black Friday.

Phobias aside, for me personally, it’s not worth it.  I stay away from the stores all together on Black Friday.  I shouldn’t say that.  I’ve sometimes ventured into stores that have nothing to do with Black Friday, stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot, for example.  One year, because we needed to get out of the house for a while, the Hubby and I went over to Lowe’s to look at their cabinet/kitchen displays and plan out the kitchen of my dreams.

I think this new trend of opening on Thanksgiving night is troubling.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love Thanksgiving more than I love Christmas.  Thanksgiving is a food holiday and for someone who loves to cook, the fourth Thursday in November is my Nirvana.  So I’m not too crazy about my favorite holiday getting the shaft.

This feeling does touch on all the commercialism in Christmas, which I am also not a fan of.   Christmas should not be about “stuff” or going into debt to get “stuff”.  But in the end, power to change that is ultimately in our own hands and until we realize this, stop complaining, and act on this, it’s not going to change.

That’s the funny thing about us humans.  We like to complain about things we don’t like, but we don’t do anything to change what we don’t like.

I’m troubled because in a sense, retailers are taking family time away from people who don’t get much family time to begin with.  I have worked in retail.  It sucks.  I’ll never do it again.  But I understand what the retail worker experiences.  The rest of your family, especially if you have kids, is on banker’s hours, but you’re working days, nights, and weekends and you don’t get to spend time with your family.  And the days that they have off are the most difficult for you to take off because those are the busiest days and the store you work for needs everyone on hand.  Couple that with low pay and having to deal with rude customers with an overinflated sense of entitlement, and it’s no wonder there is high turnover in retail.

I’ve noticed this even more now that I live in a place where it is very common for stores to open at noon on Sundays. They do this so people can go to church if they wish.  It’s rather nice and it reminds me that I’m old enough to remember a time when most stores were not open on Sundays and nobody complained.   You just adapted and did all your shopping on the other six days of the week.

Hobby Lobby doesn’t open at all on Sundays so their employees can have some family time.   Sometimes, I admit that this can be an inconvenience for me and I get annoyed. But then I realize how selfish that sounds.  A clerk in a store is not allowed to have family time because I have to go to Hobby Lobby and I have to do it on Sunday.  No, I don’t have to do it on Sunday.  I either do it on Saturday or I wait until Monday. Mankind as we know it was not destroyed because I couldn’t get a ball of yarn or a tube of craft paint on a Sunday. I adapted.  And so can you.

The world of retail runs on knowing psychology and how the mind works.  Companies pay people to study this and then come up with ways based on the findings to get you to buy more or show up at a store at weird hours to get something and you don’t even realize that you are being manipulated by them.  Some of these methods are very obvious, like The Vault that Disney warns you about so you hurry up, run to the store, and buy one of their movies before they are locked up forever or until someone invents a new video format.  Others are subtle, like restaurants painting their walls a certain color because that color stimulates hunger; therefore, you will order more food.  But they do this and you don’t even realize it.

We can complain all we want about stores being open on Sundays and holidays, but unless we stop going to them on Sundays and holidays, they will continue to stay open.  Given that most families have two income earners in them who work 9-5 Monday through Friday, I don’t see this stopping anytime soon.

So, instead of complaining, just stop going.  Adapt your own schedule so you don’t have to run errands on Sundays.  Who knows?  You may find yourself with more free time you can spend with your family.  In the end, that is the best deal of all.  And you didn’t have to camp out in the cold to get it, either.

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