Real Talk: Black Friday

Vanessa Passo and Will Stringfellow

It’s that time of year; the turkey is carved and the shopping bags are filled. The infamous Black Friday is creeping up on us. Sales, sales and more sales sweep retailers across the states, as families cut their giving of thanks short to catch the hottest deals.

How does that make sense? It’s ironic that we sit around a table and give thanks for what we have, yet cut lines and camp out in efforts to achieve materialism.

As a first-and-last-time Black Friday shopper, the logic behind the holiday’s after-party escapes me.

I would much rather enjoy quality time with my family, enjoying delicious foods and taking in all the conversational yelling featuring a house full of grown Italian men and women opposed to standing in hour-long lines, dealing with short-tempered shoppers waiting for a toaster.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Black Friday eludes to everything Thanksgiving is not. I’m so thankful for the life I live…but I could really use that new Xbox, an iPod and a few pairs of shoes, too!

Save it for Santa.

The crowd of people who emerge on this day alone are a reason to stay home. A beautiful holiday filled with good company is essentially overpowered by greedy strangers who smell like their leftovers who hope to hit every store in the entire mall within a few hours.

The earliness of the unraveling of events makes no sense to me, either. I, personally, do not like shopping, let alone on three hours of sleep.

Grumpy, tired, hot and hostile are the only words that could sum up my first experience of Black Friday shopping.

Even the Starbucks warming my frozen hands was not enough to warm my belly enough to unravel a smile of satisfaction on my sleep-deprived face.

As a retail employee Black Friday is akin to the end of days, except it repeats every year. Many of us, employee and customer, despise it. People are killed over a TV that’s slightly lower priced than normal, or in many cases has been lowered back to its original price.

In four years of working Black Friday, in both small niche stores and large super stores, I’ve seen all types of shoppers. I would much rather work an opening shift and deal with people fighting over change off a toaster than work a closing shift. The mess that’s left over looks like a hurricane blew through and then a mob ransacked the rest of the shelves.

Now this isn’t to say that every person who shops on Black Friday is the epitome of evil; there are good people and bad. Black Friday, as an employee, is a lot like being in trouble simply for existing as an employee. Out of TVs because it’s ten minutes before the store closes down? That’s your fault. All sold out of the hottest video game because it’s $5 off and someone bought four copies? You better believe you’re going to get screamed at for it.

A lot of Black Friday problems stem from the companies themselves. Weeks beforehand items that will sell quick are jacked up in price so they can create an artificial sale where the ‘sale’ price is just what it was selling at a few months beforehand. Some companies have started only operating normal business hours on Black Friday or just staying closed entirely. Macy’s has taken it a step further and decided that they will be open on Christmas Day this year but that is an entirely different issue. Last Black Friday I worked at a GameStop in the opening shift of 4:30 am to noon. During my shift I counted maybe fifteen people, so maybe America is looking to let go of Black Friday.

From this retail employee to every shopper out there, please just be considerate of everyone there and if you can only afford some high end items on Black Friday, maybe you can’t actually afford them at all.