Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rantin' and Ravin'

Okay I just have to get this off my chest so bear with me. And I might offend some people with what I have to say. I apologize in advance. My words are not directed at anyone in particular, but just our society and culture in general.

No doubt you've seen this ecard floating around on pinterest, facebook and Instagram...
We all laugh when we see this...but we secretly know its true.

I've never really been a huge fan of Black Friday shopping. That probably stems from the years I worked in retail for a check processing company and, like all other retail employees, had to work a 12-14 hour shift starting around 6 am, and deal with angry shoppers and tired, frustrated merchants. That day was always just so busy! And exhausting! And it all seemed so utterly pointless!

Three years ago someone talked me into going shopping on Black Friday. It was an okay experience, as was the year after, but I didn't feel real great about it. People were getting nasty and I found myself feeding into the negativity, anger and possessiveness of it all. I remember I wanted to buy a set of pots and pans for my mom. They were decent pans and it was a good price, I felt like it was worth it. Things were fine for a while and then as the "opening bell" was about to ring people started crowding in around me, pushing their way in front of me so they could grab the item that I wanted and had been patiently waiting for the last hour for the nice store employee to give the okay to start taking the items. I instantly hated these people! And I was disgusted with their lack of respect for the store employee who was simply there to do his job. They just could not wait 3 more minutes for the plastic to come off the boxes to take the item and were ripping it open when the employee wasn't looking. Are you kidding me?! It's 3 minutes of your life, I think you'll live! Apparently I was wrong. Apparently their lives depended on those pots and pans.

Last year there was only 1 item I wanted so I sent my strapping younger brother to fight the crowds and get it for me. Honestly I was much more relaxed.

I'm a single mom and, like so many others, a hard working American and I don't like to waste my money. I love a good sale and don't like to feel like I've been ripped off when I buy things. So I'm careful with my purchases. However, leaving a family gathering early, standing in line in the freezing cold for hours and fighting tooth and nail to save $5 on some Crayola Color Wonder books and PJs for my kid? I'm sorry, its just not worth my time. And to me it really takes away from the whole purpose and reason for Christmas.

Whether or not you are a religious person, I think we can all agree that Christmas is a time when we reach out to those in need, we give what we can to those less fortunate. We plan gatherings with our families and friends, those that we love and cherish having in our lives. Christmas should be about the people in our lives and our love for each other, not the gifts we give.

Black Friday is a tradition. I get it. According to the website "The term 'Black Friday' was coined in the 1960s to mark the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season. 'Black' refers to stores moving from the 'red' to the 'black' back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit." Does that even apply anymore? It seems like retailers are constantly in the red. Obviously they can only mark prices down so much and I think in the last couple of years we have seen some prices hit as low as they can possibly go. But yet retailers still aren't making enough money.

Retailers are getting desperate. They are trying whatever they possibly can, literally tripping over one another to fight for our hard-earned dollars, discounted or not. But does putting something on sale at 8 pm Thursday night vs 4 am Friday morning really make them much profit? It seems to me like it would cost them more money. In my basic understanding of employment law if you require workers to work on a nationally recognized and observed holiday you have to pay them 2.5 times their regular pay rate. So let me get this're going to sell me a $1,300 TV for $800, reducing your profit by $500 while at the same time paying hundreds of employees who make roughly $10 an hour on a normal day $25 an hour because it's a holiday and you expect to make a PROFIT? (Okay that's just an example and I realize my math may be a little fuzzy, but I think you get my point.Seems like a flaw in your business model.And yes, I know there is a lot more to it than that, but the theory just seems to have some holes in it.)

I feel bad for the employees that are being forced to work tomorrow who would not normally have to. I'm not a 'crusade starting' type of person, but I don't plan to go shopping tomorrow. My daughter might get one less Barbie for Christmas because I chose not to shop tomorrow and get (literally) a killer deal (cause let's face it, if no one dies tomorrow a LOT of people will be physically hurt. And that's just sad). But she will survive. If you like the thrill of the hunt and get off on the idea of standing in long lines, fighting with people you don't know when you could be at home fighting with your crazy relatives instead, by all means go for it. Just don't expect me to be thrilled about how much money you saved or impressed by the insane fights you witnessed.

1 comment:

Brad and Jaclyn said...

Hey Linds,

I completely agree!!! I hate crowds, as do most of my family. And the $5 or $10 I might save is just not worth it to me! I've never been "Black Friday" shopping and, honestly don't plan to anytime soon. People are horrible and rude and mean and greedy and I don't want to deal with it!! Love ya!!