Don’t Hate Me For Not Hating Black Friday

I’ve discovered that I don’t like to be told what I should hate.  I’ve never been very good at doing what I’m told.  And during the holidays, I just can’t seem to get on board with other people’s agendas.  Can’t do it. Tried.  Failed.  Now, I am doing my own thing.

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Take Black Friday.  I’m supposed to hate it and shake my fist about consumerism and bemoan the state of our nation because going shopping has usurped “family time.”  But, I don’t hate shopping, even though I do not choose to get in a fist fight on Thanksgiving night at Wal-Mart.  I did, however, brave the crowds on Friday and it was a lovely bonding time with my sister-in-law.  We spent 1.5 hours trying to get into a crowded parking lot, then waited in line for 20 minutes to get into a store where I couldn’t afford very much, and then fought back through the crowds to get a snack and find our car.

I get that for some people that sounds like hell.  Literally, Dante-eque, hell.  But I had fun.  There is no better people watching on American soil than an outlet mall in Las Vegas.  (Come to think of it, the outing may have been hell for my sister-in-law who was stuck in a car and then a line with me for HOURS, but for me it was a fun adventure.)

When I was in retail, I worked the day after Thanksgiving, and I loved it.  I was happy to have some place to go, actually.  When you are in Texas and not a football fan and you’ve had enough grazing on leftovers to last you through spring, being at work (Express in the Post Oak Mall in College Station) isn’t the worst thing ever.  I honestly loved it: the energy was pulsing, the customers streamed in all day, and the Christmas music hadn’t made me want to kill myself with my dressing room keys yet.

So, I’m not doing a good job at hating on Black Friday.  Or the Elf on the Shelf, but that’s not fair because we actually don’t have one.  It looks like this year our family is going to skew more Jewish than Christian, so I am off the hook regarding elves.  But if someone gave me that Elf, I would stick it in a pot or a flour canister and whoop it up every morning, or so I’d like to tell myself.

I’m not hating on Christmas music (yet) or Salvation Army bell ringers or commercials on TV or the divine candy displays at Trader Joe’s.  So don’t have me for not hating what you hate.  Also, check back here for updates, because there’s puh-lenty of time for me to get my hate on.  I’m just not there yet.

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48 thoughts on “Don’t Hate Me For Not Hating Black Friday

  1. I am SOOO with you on Black Friday. I went to Toys R Us with my mom at 8pm on Black Friday and you know what? It was probably the first time since I’ve had kids that my mom and I were alone. Usually she’s my stand-in with the kids. It was nice, so screw it. I didn’t hate it AT ALL.

    Though I will fight you on Elf On The Shelf. I’m not doing it but let me tell you, I am getting ELF SHAMED for it. I hate those things.

  2. I think people would hate on it less if the name didn’t sound so dire: “Blackness of Doom on the Dark Side Friday.” They should just call it “Happy Excess Friday” or “Consumer Blood Sport Friday.” Me, I hate Black Friday because it has crept into Canadian culture, and we don’t even get to have the Thanksgiving the day before!

  3. I don’t do Black Friday because I don’t enjoy shopping on any sort of day. However, I have always thought that there are probably plenty of people who would want to work that day.

  4. I remember trying to earn a living on retail and food service type jobs, on the long slow descent down to welfare-to-work, and eventually disability. It is nigh impossible, although I was fairly bad at it sometimes. I think THAT’S where the real outrage is at, Christie– the dilemma that working poor people have.

    I’ve read comments elsewhere from bloggers that say they aren’t paid holiday rates, AND they must work Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday hours, or risk losing their jobs. Even those that are, well, it’s not too much different– they are working to have a little more income to live. They don’t live to work– they work to live. I think people feel guilty. They feel guilty reading about food drives at Wal-Mart… where some of the food is going to the employees, because they’re that impoverished.

    And… hear me out here– being poor, it’s awkward to explain to people, when they ask, “HEY, are you going shopping Black Friday? I am!” and I say, “Um, no, I don’t have any money for that.” I’m dead serious. My disability money doesn’t come until tomorrow. I’ve run into people all the time who talk about their gaming console, or their iPad, big screen TV, or whatever, and I’m like, “Oh, hehe *cough* oh, I can’t afford that.” I’ve had to do that even in the blogosphere! “Oh, um, that’s cool *cough* I can’t afford that… no… no, not in the near future. Um, actually no, I *don’t* expect things to ‘get better’. I’m 100% disabled, so… y’know?” (It’s usually called FIXED INCOME, folks.) I… get uncomfortable talking about material wants. I don’t like having to explain to people just how poor I am.

      • Well… I think it would be silly for me to judge you for enjoying shopping. Really. I know that most stores are trying to make their profits for their entire calendar year at this time.

        But it’s really frustrating when we have a work society when so many of the workers can barely afford to buy the goods they are selling. Many corporations are worried about “attracting talent” if they don’t offer their executives fat salaries.

        The disparity sucks. I mean, the ironic thing is that if the working masses had better income– we’d have LOTS of shopping going on, and the economy would be in a lot better shape. You’d be having your fun *and* there’d be enough to go around.

  5. I’m like you – I always worked the pre- and post holidays when I worked retail. I worked in Department stores, catalogue stores, gift stores, at a jewelry store, and that kind of thing. I worked Black Friday, Christmas Eve, Mother’s Day, even Easter. Personally, I enjoyed it – even volunteered for it. (Also, I always made extra pay, though I hear that isn’t always the case now.) I know there are two sides, but I don’t hate it either. I don’t go out and shop because the crowds make me claustrophobic, but I don’t hate that others do.

  6. I am so dreadfully tired of being told what to hate, too. I can’t stand shopping, and I can’t stand consumerism, but that is a society we have built. And retailers want to charge is full price until the day after Thanksgiving, & a bunch of people who can’t afford to live in a society where one percent owns almost all of the wealth, why then let us go to the sales. As long as the employees are there voluntarily, and especially if they are making overtime, I say open your stores as much as you want to, & I say shop whenever you want to. Who am I to tell you that you have family nearby, and that if you do you actually like being with them? Who am I to tell people what to do with their time? shop all you want. And if you find a particularly good deal, email me. I don’t mind a bargain, I just don’t want to look for them.

  7. Agreed! The thing is, I just wish people would say they don’t like something because they don’t like it, instead of trying to moralize it. I went to a store on the way home on Thanksgiving evening with my aunt and cousin, and it was a nightmare, but fun bonding. Later when I was telling my step mom and her husband about it, he started lecturing me on making those poor people work on the holiday. To which I said, “uh, you went to the casino on Thanksgiving. So it’s okay to make THOSE people work, along with people at drug stores, gas stations, the movies and on and on, but just not morally okay for retail workers to work?” So annoying.

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