When I had a lull at the reference desk this morning, I flipped over to MSNBC to glance at the news. I don't know why, because I got all depressed seeing the majority of the headlines. Seems like all news is BAD news these days, kwim?
At any rate, I spied an article about Black Friday, so I read it. The article was about Target employees protesting that the store is opening for Black Friday, on, well, *Thursday*. Thanksgiving day, to be precise. 9 pm on Thanksgiving.
And apparently this is the new thing this year. A handful of other popular retailers are opening at 8 pm Thanksgiving. I knew, I just KNEW that the midnight thing last year was a bad step on a slippery slope. For as long as I can remember, Black Friday doorbusters began somewhere in the realm of 4-6 am Friday morning. Suddenly, last year it was midnight. I heard lots of complaints from people that that was too early and interfered with Thanksgiving dinner, since people wanted to go wait in line. (I think such people are absolutely out of their minds, but I suppose that is neither here nor there).
And I KNEW that this year it would be earlier. Once that step was taken to push the opening time back to midnight, the floodgates were opened. 8-9 pm Thanksgiving evening.
Here are the two positions:
Con - This is an outrageous infringement on a family holiday about GIVING THANKS that is now being run amuck by corporate greed. Employees are being given no choice but to work, and despite being paid more than usual, this is unconscionable. Nobody needs a jump start that early. What is so different 8 pm Thanksgiving night that wouldn't be the same early Friday morning? The store will still make a lot of money.
Pro - Target will lose a ton of business if they don't open at the same time as their competitors. Employees are well compensated for working a holiday, in addition to extra bonuses. People should be grateful that they even have a job in this economy, and have the opportunity to make more than usual to boot. If they don't like it, they can find another job.
So. I'm sure you'll be unsurprised to learn that I side with the Con position. :) I mean, it's a free society, the store's management can open whenever the heck they want. But the point is I don't think we want to be going down this road. Are they really going to be making MORE money by opening on Thanksgiving, or will it just spread the same sales out over a longer period of time? I think it'll just be the same, but obviously they disagree. I just think that some things should be sacred. Black Friday will always be Black Friday, but Thanksgiving is about family. Why take away the joy of that day? There's just no need.
In Christmas preparations generally, we've lost that sense of joyful anticipation. Everything is so hectic and *rushed* anymore. It feels like we as a society don't sit back and simply enjoy things enough. I've noticed in Children's Liturgy of the Word (when I'm excitedly lecturing them about the liturgical calendar, because that's what I *do*) every time I ask the children what season is next in our Church calendar they say: "Christmas!"
And of course, it's not. :) It's *Advent*. Nobody remembers Advent anymore. Before the excitement of Christmas morning comes the quiet expectation of the nativity.
It's a shame that Black Friday (still pre-Advent, but the spirit is the same) has become a crazy fest, but it is what it is. I wish the stores wouldn't open until Friday morning, but they didn't consult me, so there you have it.
We'll see what the reports are after this year, but I fear that the opening time will creep sooner and sooner until Thursday morning will commence "Black Friday." I just find it all very sad.