Rich Cicci

WILDLY FRUSTRATED: Black Friday is absolutely meaningless anymore

WILDLY FRUSTRATED: Black Friday is absolutely meaningless anymore
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Thanksgiving Day is about families and friends coming together and giving thanks for what we have – the love, friendship, and kinship we share with one another. Yes, there may be some binge eating, libations, naps, and gathering around television sets to watch football and/or parades, but all of that is done surrounded by loved ones. Besides the normal Thanksgiving festivities, Black Friday shopping has been a tradition for decades. People would wait in line for hours before stores open – with lists and ads in hand – with the hope to get the best deals out there. Of course, this is only true if you are fortunate enough to not hold a job in retail.

If you do work in the retail world, then your Thanksgiving is slightly different. It may look similar on the surface, but there is usually a looming black cloud on your mind in anticipation for the madness that Black Friday usually brings – a 4 or 5 a.m. start to your day, long hours or double-shifts on the job, and a nigh-perpetual forced smile for the throngs of people charging into stores demanding this, that, and the other thing. In recent years, retail stores have extended their hours, beginning their day at midnight. Then they further altered their hours again to start even earlier on the evening of Thanksgiving Day itself.

For those retail employees, managers and associates alike, their Thanksgiving has turned into a day of foreboding and animosity. The time being consumed by their jobs is of little concern to their employers or shoppers. Their friends and family, even the holiday, comes dead fucking last to the consumerism and rampant greed exhibited by retailers. But there is yet another wind of change heading towards Black Friday.

Internet sales, which were once relegated to “Cyber Monday,” are now encapsulating more of the Black Friday experience. All these deals are a mouse-click away and can be done from the comfort of one’s own home. Retailers themselves are altering their game plans again. Some, instead of remaining open from Thanksgiving evening until the close of Friday, are opting to open Thursday evening, close their doors overnight, and reopen Friday morning. Others are even offering special event sales where their club members can receive the Black Friday ad prices much earlier than on Friday. So what exactly does all of this mean anyway?

Simply put, it means Black Friday is absolute, unequivocal bullshit! It’s meaningless! There is no need for these ridiculous hours of operation. There is no need to stand in line before the ass crack of dawn. There is no goddamn need to have open hours on Thanksgiving Day. There is no need for any of this because “Black Friday sales” have been made less significant because of its oversaturation! How the hell can a sale price be “special” or “exclusive” if the public can get said item or price anywhere, at any time, and at their own convenience? It’s an easy question because the answer is obvious – it isn’t! “Black Friday” is nothing more than a label – a marketing scheme, if you will – used to make people believe they are getting deals every which way they turn. 99 percent of the time, you aren’t; trust me.

Retailers, in an attempt to get all the moneys, have made Black Friday absolutely superfluous! Why the hell would anyone leave their homes before sun up, or at all, for something they can purchase days before in store or off a store’s website? Oh, there are some who scoff at such questions! They feel “the hunt” is more important than the purchase. They live for those 4 a.m. lines. They yearn for the rush! Doing it any other way is entirely impure! Those people should probably be held for psychiatric evaluations and/or be put down if they cannot be helped. Just about everything is better from the comfort of a couch – and that includes shopping.

It also appears that the pendulum is beginning to swing the other way now. REI, a national outdoor gear retailer, has said that they will not open their doors on Black Friday. Their CEO feels things have gotten out of hand and he wants his employees to be able to enjoy their holiday. Amen, brother! While this may be the only store that will remain closed on Black Friday, other national retailers such as Sam’s Club, GameStop, Babies “R” Us, and Cabela’s (to name a few) have decided to remain closed on Thanksgiving Day. I’d like to think that these retailers are staying closed on Thursday because they believe their workers aren’t merely fucking cattle to be overworked. Regardless of their reasons behind such a decision, I commend them and hope this movement gains momentum.

So what’s next? Clearly, there isn’t a real reason to leave your home on Thanksgiving or Black Friday to shop. With pre-Black Friday sale events and dotcom sales leading up to the day, why go out? Retailers have made it easier than ever to shop for your favorite, sought-after items one way or another this year. I mean, shit, has been offering incredible Black Friday deals daily since Nov. 1st! Take advantage of these opportunities and give the sales associates a fucking break by sleeping in and – God forbid – spending time with your families and friends. By doing so, you may just allow them to have a holiday worth celebrating again.

And, with that, I hope everyone out there has a happy, healthy, and frustration-free Thanksgiving.

Wildly Frustrated is a recurring column that takes a lighthearted look at rage-inducing and blood-boiling topics focusing on, or surrounding, various forms of entertainment, media, and possibly the world around us. It’s unleashed on Thursdays on NEPA Scene.