Some might say that consumerism has gone too far, and Black Friday is swiftly becoming a prime example. As the dreaded retail massacre draws closer, consumers are coming up with more and more reasons why they want to Blacklist Black Friday this year.
The shoppers of today have become more deal-savy than ever before. With this knowledge comes great disappointment as more and more people are realizing that the sales offered on Black Friday aren’t what they used to be. Where savings could be felt in the pocket books immediately in the past, consumers are only recognizing slightly less of a sting than their regularly tagged items. Suspicions are rising that retailers are working with suppliers to raise prices the rest of the year. The theory goes that when the prices are later lowered come sale time, a routine of smoke and mirrors will lure shoppers into giving up their souls, wallets and better judgement to the shopping Gods.
Potentially as a result of the holidays coming 6 days later this year than usual, resulting in sales totals running a bit flat, this year more than any before large chain stores will be opening their Black Friday deals early. Macy’s, JC Penny, BestBuy are just to name a few of the stores that have been going under fire for opening their doors on what is now being called “Gray Thursday” by some circles. Kmart ad Walmart have received the brunt of the ridicule especially because of their extreme hours. Kmart this year will be opening at 6am, while Walmart who has been reputed as opening on Thanksgiving Thursday for the past 25 years will continue to be open all day as well.
The main disgust in the shopping community comes from what is being interpreted as a prioritization of consumerism over family. On a holiday that is marked for inspiring people to be thankful for what they have, attention is being drawn towards red ticket items that they don’t have…yet. Many families will be having their turkey dinners while the sales are just being started, forcing people to choose between participating in the sales or honouring traditions and time with their loved ones.
Shoppers are not the only ones that will have to give up their time at home to join in the Black Friday festivities. In order for any store to run, employees are necessary. Compassion for staff working on the holidays has been over-whelming, with groups opening on Facebook demanding that Black Friday be blacklisted in order to make time for family. Target is an example of a corporation that had been running on a reputation of caring for its employees and offering better job practices that has come under scrutiny for joining in on Thursday’s early sales.
Clearly someone at Walmart has been listening to the concerns of the masses, because for the first time in their Black Friday traditions they are no longer mandating a requirement to work either Thanksgiving or Black Friday but offering incentives to employees instead. Hot meals on Thanksgiving and Black Friday as well as in-store discounts are just a few motivators Walmart has devised.
Will those that are blacklisting Black Friday be able to make enough of an impact to inspire a reform in the shopping industry? Hopefully on this year on Thanksgiving the turkey and full bellies will be a distraction enough that Americans can leave these worries for another day.
By Romana Outerbridge