Shop till ya’ drop (dead)

Black Friday; otherwise known as, the sale to die for. A few years ago I worked at Best Buy and I know firsthand how awful it can be working Black Friday. Fortunately when I worked at Best Buy, they began their sale at 6 a.m. However, this still required that I be at work at 5 a.m. to get the store ready for shoppers. When the floodgates opened, a rush of people would swell in like a frantic pack of lunatics; tired beady eyes, hunched backs, the smell of sour beer and gravy still on their breath. 

People are impatient and demanding during this time. “Where are the TVs? What do you mean you’re all out? I’ve been waiting for hours.” It is almost something out of a Hunter S. Thompson novel. While I’m yelling over the microphone, “I need some back-up here in Mobile; I’m overran by these swine. They are demanding things in Chinese, Spanish and Latin. I don’t understand a thing their saying!” “What? Someone was stabbed in isle four?” 

As extreme as that may sound, that is the sad truth behind Black Friday. People lose it. Consumers turn dark and people have actually died, and many injured. According to blackfridaydeathcount.com, seven people have died, and 90 have been injured in the Black Friday Rush. The first Black Friday death happened in 2008 when Wal-Mart employee, Jdimytai Damour was knocked over and trampled to death.

Is this what consumerism has done to our society? Has the demand for goods increased so much that we will kill for a little savings? Maybe this is the result of too many ads. It doesn’t matter if one is listening to Pandora, watching TV, YouTube, or browsing the Internet on a computer or cellphone, the ads will find their way to one’s conscience. CBS news reports  people are exposed to as many as 5,000 ads a day. In the 1960s, Black Friday used to indicate the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Most department stores were in the “red” in terms of profit and the day after Thanksgiving, they were back to being profitable and using ‘black’ ink to record this. Hence, Black Friday. The Best Buy I worked at had shoppers lining outside for up to three days before our sale began. Now, they won’t have to wait that long. 

Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart and other stores have decided to open up on Thanksgiving Day, which some are referring to as Grey Thursday. The idea that people would actually go out shopping Thanksgiving Day is repulsive. Doesn’t anyone care about the workers? Yes they chose to work there, but more than likely, they need that job not because they are passionate about Wal-Mart, but because they need to pay the bills. When we require these businesses to open up on Thanksgiving, we are forcing the workers to miss out on precious time with their family. I don’t believe that any sale is worth giving up a holiday such as Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving is about family and friends to come together and celebrate life. To be thankful for everything they have, even if sometimes they feel like they are lacking. Life is about the connections we make with people, not about the material objects we accumulate in our lives.