November 22, 2011
Every year, after everyone has overeaten at Thanksgiving dinner, Black Friday begins, kicking off the Christmas-shopping season. Traditionally, the two events have always been separate and not encroached upon one another, but this Black Friday will be different.
Stores, at the request of their customers, are moving their openings, traditionally at four or five in the morning, to midnight or even earlier. However, this has raised controversy among employees of the retailers involved with Black Friday, because a midnight opening would require employees to sleep through Thanksgiving dinner to work overnight.
This angers many people, as they don’t want to give their family members up to big corporations on a national holiday just so they can work. In fact, a recent survey by ConsumerSearch.com found that 87% of people felt that stores should stay closed on Thanksgiving. Of course, this data may be skewed, because people were probably too busy researching Black Friday sales to answer a survey.
However, employees have tried to fight the earlier openings. A part-time employee of a Target store in Nebraska even went as far to start a petition, which has gotten upwards of 80,000 of signatures as of November 15th.
Obviously, there is strong opposition to the earlier openings. I feel that stores should honor the importance of Thanksgiving to families, and stay closed on Thanksgiving even if some customers want an earlier opening. This way, employees will be happy, families of employees will be happy, and Black Friday will continue to go the way it always has, which has worked in the past.
People may argue that ‘The customer is always right.’ However, if an individual customer makes a suggestion, that doesn’t mean a corporation should change their policy. The real customer is not the individual, but rather the American people as a whole. And so what if a small percentage of the consumers (Black Friday shoppers) want to go shopping after Thanksgiving dinner? I think the hundreds of millions of Americans who celebrate Thanksgiving and enjoy the time together would have something against that.
Also, there is another issue I’d like to address; violence on Black Friday. Really? I understand people are excited to save 40% on a TV or whatever your item of choice may be, but how much is that really worth? A life?
For example, in 2008 an employee of Wal-Mart was trampled to death, and shoppers just kept rushing in. It’s absurd someone would lose their life over people rushing in for a sale. Also, in 2010 a woman threatened to shoot anyone who objected to her cutting in line. If you’re willing to shoot someone over a good spot in line, you might as well get there an hour earlier.
I think people need to take Black Friday less seriously, and just enjoy spending time together with their family on Thanksgiving.