Well, it’s happened. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the United States, has crept ever earlier, to the point where big-box retailers are opening on the actual holiday.
My sister, who works at Target, shared this on Facebook recently (reposted with her permission):
This season, for many reasons, I implore you to not shop on black friday. I would encourage everyone to spend that day with family, not shopping. As an employee of Target, I am saddened for myself and my coworkers, that our store is opening at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving day. Last year it was midnight, now it’s 9pm, next year stores may be open all day, and it is not just Target of course. Walmart is opening at 8 p.m. These hours make it nearly impossible to have a Thanksgiving with our families. The sales are not worth it, the stress, the crowds, the rude attitudes people bring in, it is all one big scam. You may say that we could work somewhere else, this is true, but for many people, just to have job is a blessing. It would be kind of Target corporate to think about their employees for one day, to give them a whole 24 hours off for a holiday. I’ve heard their reasoning for the change in hours, but that is only their side, which when heard as an employee sounds a lot like “Corporate will make whatever changes they want, with no regard for your personal life, so suck it up, and get over it” Please spread the word, and if you do go shopping on black friday (which in itself, is a terrible name for a day) please don’t go as soon as stores open, it will save you a lot of stress. Thanks.
I have worked on many holidays myself, first in journalism and then in politics. I’ve also worked odd hours, so I’m grateful for the gas stations, grocery stores and pharmacies that are open late or on holidays. And I’m sure we all sleep better knowing first responders are just a phone call away, day or night, holiday or non, should an emergency arise.
However, there is just no good reason for retail workers to have such unreasonable schedules over Thanksgiving. My sister works from 8:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving to 7 a.m. the next day. That’s just ridiculous. As she said above, next year stores may be open all day on Thanksgiving. Why? So these corporations can make more money.
I was out last year on Black Friday, but not shopping; I was collecting signatures to get President Obama on Indiana’s primary ballot. And the lines were unbelievable, at Toys “R” Us, Best Buy, Old Navy, Target… I couldn’t imagine why people were standing in line in the bitter cold when they could have been at home with their families. And because they wanted to get a good deal, many police officers were present to make sure the crowds were safe, when they could have been at home themselves or attending to more important matters.
Is saving a few dollars really worth the hassle? I don’t think so, which is why I urge you to honor my sister’s request. And if you absolutely have to shop on Black Friday, remember to be extra kind to the people waiting on you. They aren’t paid nearly enough to put up with the abuse they get this time of year.