BLACK FRIDAY: A HISTORY + 5 ALTERNATIVES

I dread this day every year.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF BLACK FRIDAY

While I do not agree with Ms. Amadeo’s summation (the very last line) of her article – Why Black Friday is Called Black Friday, I understand it.

I recall watching the news over a decade ago and seeing horrific scenes of people being crushed while out shopping to get great deals for the coming Christmas holiday. It made perfect sense (the wanting to get good deals part) until I understood that people were waiting in long lines in the cold (we lived in Wisconsin at the time) for hours at a time to get these deals but could find themselves entered into a spontaneous WWF/WWE contest at any moment.

Skim the article and you’ll learn (or be reminded) that the hotspot for most of the nonsense and shenanigans across the country is Wal-Mart. So much so that they have a hashtag for it, “#Walmartfights”; which I’m not encouraging you to now go and follow.

Wal-Mart stresses me out. From the moment I hit the parking lot, I’m out of whack. It just seems like the place where I most sense that people make up their own rules about how customers and consumers behave – from the parking lot throughout the store. Call me a snob, but this introvert needs a nap and a “talk down” after going into Walmart.

I don’t mean to pick on this one place.

Black Friday makes me sad because of how much it feeds our consumer nature. Which puts people who work retail (most of the time, second or third jobs for folks) in the position where they must work during the holiday weekend. I know that it’s important to make money to survive, but what if we were all to chill out a bit and choose to let people be home with their people for one more day before we hit the stores to spend?

This from a person who hosted Thanksgiving dinner four days early to grab hold of our young adults who work in jobs that extend their hours and services during the holidays. And since we don’t travel at this time of year, they are the ones to step up so their peers and managers can have time away (and because of the somewhat appealing holiday pay).

I understand that we are a capitalistic society. And that money seems to make our country spin round and round, but it also seems to be – at times – what tears us apart.

It’s clear to me that I may be putting this post out there as people are returning from shopping today. It’s because I slept in and dawdled this morning before pulling the computer onto my lap. Our prerogative to shop (or not to shop) on Black Friday is up to each of us.  It is not my heart to shame, judge or criticize anyone who enjoys this type of shopping at this time of year.

I do however, invite each of us to think a little bit more deeply about the impact that we make (or can make) on our society and what’s happening deep within ourselves by continually perpetuating the idea that standing in long lines to buy stuff is what the holidays are really about.

ALTERNATIVES TO BLACK FRIDAY

Here’s how we’re spending the rest of our day today.

We’ll finish our yummy coffee, made from our coffee maker by yours truly.

A friend is allowing us to borrow her carpet cleaner, so when we return from picking that up and I finish tidying our place after decorating for Christmas, we’ll have clean carpets.

I’ll go through and organize cabinet space for baking utensils, because Ginger Cookie Baking Season is on! And I’m trying them with a twist: Ginger Bacon Molasses Cookies; thank you Erin Moon.

We’ll watch some cheesy, predictable Christmas movies, listen to some jazzy Christmas music and read/nap.

I’ll express giddiness for our lovely two-bedroom, two-bath apartment, I will think about those who have to work today, those who are without a home, those who are still deployed to serve/fight overseas and those who are grieving and mourning the loss of a loved one.

Here are some other alternatives for how you can spend the rest of your Black Friday or plan to spend this day next year.

How do you and your family spend your Black Friday? 

 

 

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