Holiday shopping has always been a chore for me. There’s just something about being herded around stores like cattle that I despise. Black Friday has become the officially unofficial start to the holiday shopping season, so named because profits from this day of shopping get retailers “in the black” financially for the year. I know, you’re all rolling your eyes at me, saying things like, “But Jennifer, I need to get _________ at this sale! If I don’t, I’ll never find it that cheap ever again and Christmas will be ruined.” I’ll tell you why I feel like we all need to change our ways.
1) Big box stores tend to shut out small businesses.
How can a locally owned family business compete with a national retailer, when the national retailer is cutting their own feet off on Black Friday? There’s a piece of the entrepreneurial pie out there for everyone, but $10 microwaves and $5 winter coats make it hard on the little guy. There are so many awesome local businesses out there, show them some love.
2) Some shoppers are ruthless, to the point of inhumanity.
Every year, I hear about someone getting hit, stabbed, shot, trampled or hurt in some other way while participating in a sale. Is it worth ruining someone else’s life or getting thrown in jail to get the last Elmo doll on the shelf?
3) It’s not about the stuff.
While you’re out there shoving your way to the goods, remember who you’re shopping for. You love these people, but you’re acting like a fool. Put down the George Foreman grill and get your humanity back! Treat your fellow humans with respect and care.
4) Many employees are torn away from family celebrations to work these sales.
Big retailers have started opening their doors on Thanksgiving (some as early as 4pm!), much to the dismay of their employees. So much for holidays. Here’s a list of opening times for some of the US’s biggest retailers.
In summary, please remember the lovely human beings- not only the ones you’re shopping for, but also the ones you just cursed at for grabbing the thing you wanted, the ones ringing up your purchases at the big box store and the ones who own the small businesses in your community. It’s not about stuff.