Bashing Black Friday

by Melissa Brunner

For probably the first time in 37 years, my mom will not have to work the day after Thanksgiving. She won't be getting up at 2 am to be ready in time to open for the Black Friday sales or, in the alternative, getting home after midnight because she's worked the late shift and has to clean up from the madness. And I couldn't be happier for her! It's a bit sad, because the reason she retired is that her particular store closed, but seriously, mom, you don't need the hassle anymore :-)

That said, I've heard a lot of backlash against Black Friday this year. Much of it has to do with more stores than ever deciding to open at midnight for their big sales. It is a bit insane. Not too long ago, 6 am seemed to be standard. Then a few people pushed it back to 5 am. Then we started seeing 4 am. The first midnight opening I recall was Toys R Us. This year, Target, Best Buy and Kohls are among those joining the fray. Add to that the stores doing Thanksgiving Day specials - I admit, I've been out at KMart Thanksgiving morning!

All of this, some people argue, has made Thanksgiving almost an afterthought. They say people are foregoing the time spent appreciating family and friends and the other blessings in life and instead focusing the retail-palooza that follows. Instead of enjoying Thanksgiving dinner, they say, we'll be munching PB&J while standing in a line, hoping to get the cheapest BluRay player or hottest toy.

While I do enjoy hitting the stores on Black Friday (well, enjoy might be a bit strong - but I do think you need to keep a sense of humor about it!), I also admit I see some truth in what the naysayers point out. It comes back to how the holiday season gets us stressed out over what we have to buy and the things people want and the money we must spend. In other words, is this year's Black Friday another sign of over-commercialization? Or is it simply meeting the demand of what the public wants?

Give me your thoughts. How do you handle Black Friday? And has it gone too far?



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