The Battle of Black Friday

It’s official, retailer workers are 100% sick of Black Friday (although there was never really a doubt that they liked it in the first place).  In the past retail employees had to look forward to an early Thanksgiving meal and an abnormally long and early work day, but this year it has gotten far worse.  Because of all the shopping frenzy that happens around this time of the year almost every major retail chain has decided to start their sales early on Thanksgiving.  Many people have been forced to not celebrate the holiday with their loved ones because they’ll be busy stocking the electronics shelves at WalMart, but somehow missing a major family holiday isn’t even the worst part of Black Friday for retail workers.

Every year the post Thanksgiving shopping sprees manage to get more out of control and occasionally violent.  We’ve all heard stories of employees being pinned up against boxes and windows because of a large crowd of shoppers, but an uncomfortable and squeezed meeting with a display window is the best these people can hope for.  Employees have been forced to break up fights with aggressive customers and occasionally they have to defend themselves from aggressive customers.  People have been sprayed with mace, stabbed, and in some gruesome cases trampled to death during Black Friday sales.  Retail employees are tired of missing their Thanksgiving to act as a criminally underpaid riot control force, and they’re taking a stand against it.

Last year there were many online petitions circulating that called to an end of Black Friday because of the unfair strain it puts on retailers, by the end of the holiday there were around 150 in total. Right now there are almost 100 petitions on Change.org that have workers from Target, Toys R Us, WalMart, and other big retailers demanding an end to their unfair Black Friday treatment, and many believe that by the end of week that they’ll surpass last year’s amount.  Because of WalMart’s strict anti-union policies people never thought they’d see the day WalMart employees would revolt, but we may very well see it happen this upcoming Friday.  To be fair their protest is more about having living wages, benefits, and being treated like they’re people, but the fact that they’re planning a big walk out on the biggest shopping day of the year is pretty poignant.

Even if you don’t look at the anti-Black Friday stance from a moral perspective, putting an end to the Black Friday rush in stores makes a lot of sense.  Every year more and more people choose to avoid the in-store insanity and just shop online.  Choosing to shop for the holidays online isn’t just less stressful, it can also be a lot cheaper since the discounts people get from shopping online can eclipse what people are getting in store.  Brick and mortar stores have been fighting an uphill battle with e-tail giants like Amazon and Ebay, and stores will keep having to come up with unbelievable sales to compete with the online shopping world.

It seems like overall people are just getting plain sick of Black Friday.  They’re missing Thanksgiving with their loved ones because they have to work, and some of them are literally risking their lives to compete with thousands of shoppers who are eager to get the same big ticket items.  Do yourself and retail employees a favor this year, skip the frenzy, shop online, and join the 21st century by not valuing a slightly cheaper Wii U over human happiness.

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