Thursday, November 24, 2011

The lunacy of Black Friday

Last year, the Kansas City Star had 59 flyers (a k a free-standing inserts) in its Thanksgiving edition. Today, the Star had 65, not counting the numerous print ads in the run-of-press portion of the paper, all extolling this or that Black Friday deal.

"We open the doors at 10PM tonight!" "Big savings--only from 4-5AM." "Doorbuster sale starting at 5AM."

Really, really...!?

I'm going to go all Andy Rooney (rest in peace) curmudgeonly on you for a bit now. So, those of you who plan to stay out all night to hit the sales may want to stop reading.

Back in the day, there was no Black Friday, there was the "day after Thanksgiving." On the day after Thanksgiving, we would shop but we'd also go to a movie, go out to lunch or dinner together, and perhaps nab a bit (or two or three) of leftover turkey and pumpkin pie. Retailers didn't promote sales as much as they promoted the first official day of the holiday shopping season.

Thanksgiving Day was reserved for family--no stores were open and no one gave a thought to missing out on the possibilities.

Let's see a show of hands--how many of you have worked retail on the day after Thanksgiving? If you have, you know it's a grueling, demanding day. Now, for a moment, consider those who are at home now, readying for their Thanksgiving meal but also pondering leaving home at 9:00 p.m. or 3:00 a.m., or whatever time it may be, working retail so those of you who feel so led can get out "early" and hit the various sales and deals which are being so heavily promoted this week.

It's a sad commentary on a day which originally was put into place to celebrate the harvest of the year.

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