OK, so I’m not really a huge shopping fan. My mom still tells this story from when I was in high school and my sister had just started college. She was home for Thanksgiving. The day after, we all went to a mall to do some shopping. It turned into a nine-hour endurance test. I ran out of things to look at and was getting bored, but they were still going strong. So I bought a book (probably from B. Dalton – remember them?) and found a relatively comfortable bench and read until they were finally ready to go home.
This was all way back when the day after Thanksgiving was a big shopping day, but before stores started opening at ridiculously early hours. This article at Wikipedia claims that the term “Black Friday” has been in use for the day after Thanksgiving since 1975, but I really don’t remember hearing that term much back in my high school days.
Anyway, where am I going with this? Nine hours in a suburban mall was enough to scare me off shopping the day after Thanksgiving. Getting up at four in the morning and waiting in line to race around to get the best deals? No thanks. Not going to happen.
Now I do like shopping for fun things, and I can’t claim to be put off the materialism of buying stuff. I like shopping for backpacking gear, outdoor/camping gear, dog stuff, and electronics. Shopping for clothes at REI or Bob Wards is fun. Getting packages from UPS is fun. Shopping in a billion little mall stores full of “trendy” clothes, not so much. At least not for me.
This year, it seems that some retailers are going even further and opening at midnight or late Thanksgiving night, like around ten. I think this is appalling. I feel bad for all the employees who have to catch up on sleep all day on Thanksgiving so that they can work all night. Whose idea was this, really? Wasn’t opening at four AM early enough?
I pretty much agree with this Target employee who started a petition to push back the opening to 5 AM.
I think it is pretty sad that things are at a point where opening at 5 AM is now the REASONABLE alternative. I mean really. Yikes.
Again, I’m not some anti-consumer-culture person here. I like shopping for certain things. I like getting expensive new toys when I can afford them (I just got a new Kindle Touch last week after all). But really. Why ruin a really nice, fun holiday that is all about food, friends, and family (and football for some, but I don’t really care too much about that personally) by opening stores at 10 PM or midnight?