“No thanks” to Black Friday

Thanksgiving used to be my favorite holiday of the year. Good food, great family and fun laughs – for years, nothing could ruin my beloved turkey day.

That was, of course, until Black Friday began creeping into my feasts, taking away my mother and ruining the best day of the year.

My mom works at Target, one of the biggest retail stores in the country. On every other day of the year I practically live at Target, but ever since it began competing with the holiday hours of WalMart – an even bigger retailer notorious for mistreating its employees – my mom has continuously had to cut Thanksgiving short so that she can get as much sleep as she can, start work at 3 a.m. and hustle greedy shoppers for the next eight painful hours.

Thankfully, my mom has never had to work the beginning of Black Friday, which everyone knows has been starting earlier and earlier each year. Target will open this year at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving evening. If you think that’s bad, WalMart is opening at 6 p.m. – before I’ve even sat down for dinner.

Black Friday’s unnecessary creep into Thanksgiving is ruining the morale of America. In a country where the average person sees hundreds of advertisements a day, I look forward to Thanksgiving as one of the only days – recognized nationally by the government –  that I can shut out greedy businesses and focus on what’s most important: reuniting with my family (food’s pretty high up there, though). 

Black Friday is obliterating the meaning and values behind Thanksgiving Day, and it’s dragging down those of the American population with it. People who choose to ditch their families in order to save a few hundred bucks are exactly the reason why poor employees are forced to leave theirs. 

Target is humane enough to give employees the choice of whether or not they want to open Black Friday, but I don’t believe that’s the case for WalMart. Many of its employees are planning its second annual strike against it. But last year WalMart reported its best Black Friday yet, so it’s doubtful that the strike will make a huge difference.

And the crowds can get pretty rowdy on Black Friday – do you remember the WalMart employee who was trampled to death in 2008? 

That’s not all – a disturbing video of Black Friday 2010 at a Target in North Buffalo shows dozens of people running over a man screaming for help, which adds to a few other Black Friday reports and horror stories of a similar nature.

The whole point of holiday shopping is to be generous to one another . . . or so it was. This consumer-driven, nightmare version of “holiday savings” promotes a mind-set that’s the complete opposite of Christmas.

For the love of the treasured time with your family, compassion for ill-treated employees, conscious refusal to adhere to profitably greedy corporations and some darn good stuffing, please do not shop on Black Friday this year. 

The only reason why these stores continue to open so early is because of how many customers they draw. There are so many other options – Cyber Monday, shopping early or even forfeiting consumerism all together and giving a homemade, original gift from the heart.

I love Thanksgiving and I love my mom, but greed, profitability and consumerism is taking them away from me. 

If this Black Friday is successful, there’s a good chance that next year, there won’t even be time for Thanksgiving.