This week by definition should be the most difficult in terms of sticking with the Be Green Challenge since today is Black Friday. However, as someone who has worked three Black Fridays in the past four years, I am pretty against shopping on this day. Four years ago, I worked at Target and had to open on Friday at 4 a.m., which I thought was ridiculously early. However, the following year Target opened at Friday, 12 a.m. Last year I worked at the Gap in Davis, which opened at 6 a.m. (not as bad), but I live in the Bay Area so having to travel back to Davis just to work and then commute back home was annoying, to say the least. This year, my former Gap co-workers told me the store opened at 4 p.m. on THANKSGIVING, and I found out that Target opened at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving day. I was always against the idea of “Christmas coming early.” Examples of this would be: 1) selling Christmas decorations way before acceptable holiday season (i.e. before Halloween in October), 2) playing Christmas music prior to Thanksgiving, 3) Black Friday Christmas shopping intruding on Thanksgiving.
Personally, my family doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving the “traditional American way” with home cooked food and everyone gathering at someone’s house. We usually just go out to eat at the same Chinese restaurant we go to for every celebration, so Thanksgiving is not a big deal to me. However, I know that Thanksgiving is a big deal to most other people. It’s a time to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of work and school and really reflect on all the people and things we should be thankful for that we take for granted. It’s a time to be thankful for what we already have, yet Black Friday completely defeats the purpose of Thanksgiving. In a frenzy to get items we really do not need for cheap, we’ll leave family Thanksgiving dinners early just to line up to buy a discounted flat screen tv, or a new game console to add to our existing collection. Many people, such as the author of this Inquisitr article (author unknown), are saying that this phenomenon of opening stores on Thanksgiving day will lead to the extinction of Black Friday. This recent occurrence of stores opening earlier is apparently due to “customer demand’, but what worries me is that what if customer demand becomes so great that it eventually takes over Thanksgiving day itself, and shopping starts Thanksgiving morning (“Black Thursday” prior to dinnertime??)
Not only do these store openings affect customers, who at least have the choice to stay home, but retail workers as well who do not have a choice and are pulled away from their families on Thanksgiving Day. So, as a former retail worker, I’m pretty against the Black Friday tradition and will not shop so long as it intrudes on set aside Thanksgiving time with family.
Aside from this newly formed shopping-on-Thanksgiving tradition, as a consumer and someone who exchanges Christmas gifts, I love all of the promotional efforts retailers put out around this time. As stated in the readings this week, “dress has become a significant status indicator” (Yamani), which is why consumers will jump at the opportunity when brand name retailers knock prices during Black Friday. That rush you get when buying a designer label for a less-than-designer price is exciting, so its understandable why consumers are so willing to go out at the peak of dawn to snag these deals. However, I wish retailers wouldn’t continue to encourage this behavior by opening on the holidays. I’m hoping that Cyber Monday and online shopping will secede in-store shopping so people will be able to at least stay at home and better spend their time with family and friends.
Black Friday 2014: Thanksgiving Hours Could Spell End Of Black Friday Shopping Forever. (n.d.). Retrieved November 28, 2014, from http://www.inquisitr.com/1552430/black-friday-2014-thanksgiving-hours-could-spell-end-of-black-friday-shopping-forever/
Yamani, Maii. “Changing the Habits of a Lifetime: The Adaptation of Hejazi Dress to the New Social Order.