For many years consumers have braved the sales of various establishments earlier each time, to save as much as possible. It appears some stores have announced opening hours as early as 8:00 P.M. the night before. Regardless of the hour or the day, the dedicated “Black Friday” shoppers have gotten up earlier, and stayed later to stand in line, camp outside and even go as far as to trample each other to take advantage of those specials offered in the continuing downfall of the economy. Just last night, I read an article about a shooting that took place at a Kohl’s department store. How far will people go to get what they want? Apparently some will even go to jail, to get what they want, when they want it, and others will fall to the retribution of those who feel slighted.
Over the year I have heard many people discuss their reasons for having their Facebook accounts. Some people announce every detail of their life. They post their pictures of every nth of theirs homes, families, friends, and pets. Then fall prey to identity theft. They advise their list of 500 or more friends and family of their upcoming week to the Bahamas, and come back to an empty home. Burglarized- how could this have happened? I have friends and family members who tag every activity of their day. “Sally Sue is at Wal-Mart.” “Ed Earl is at the mall.” “Irene is at the doctor’s office.” As wonderful as it is to let people know where you are, isn’t this just a bit extreme, or is it?
While reading through the various posts, I came upon the most meaningful one stating, “Because only in America, people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.” Isn’t it strange how we can go from the beginning of the month, posting heartfelt comments of all of the things we are thankful for, to get to the day of thanks spent with family and friends, remembering all of those we have lost, and welcoming all of those who are new in our lives. Then the weekend is spent mourning the results afterwards of people killed as a result of trampling each other, employees and customers wounded and killed as a result of shooting each other, a train track derailment killing those on board, and car crashes robbing of us of others. Such a dark weekend, and it doesn’t end. The weekend becomes even longer, as the retailers spread their businesses on until Monday.
Rumor has it the biggest sales were sold out, or were short-lived on Friday. So why the fuss throughout the weekend? Is it false advertising? Were they holding out before? Is it all about the money? Is it worth the risk the fights, the harm that comes to customers? Picturing myself as a retailer, the goal is to profit to keep my business afloat; however, the “human” part of me evaluates the situation at a “do no harm” standpoint. If my business practices are contributing to the physical harm of those shopping in my establishment, I would feel my business practices should be re-evaluated.
There is also the fact of my Facebook friends. Those “true blue” friends who stand by the philosophy of “friendship lasts forever.” The day of Thanksgiving, the posts read “I am thankful for my family and friends. I love each and every one of them. Some of those friends, are like family to me, and I love them as such.” On Black Friday, the posts read how materialistic people are, and how anyone who could be so? Some even threatened to remove these people from their Facebook page, as this is not the kind of friends they want, or thought they had. We thought we were past discrimination based on color. Color based on the “True Blue” and the “Black Friday”- when will we put these petty things behind us.
Composed December 2013 for “From the Park Bench”