Here’s the thing about Black Friday – people I know, people my age and even younger, don’t really give a fuck about what sales are where. I see my friends going out and making a big shibang over it all, and I’m like, the fuck you guys getting? A new TV for your family? No thanks, I’ll do my online shopping and stay home in my turkey coma, thank you very much.
They don’t spend any more or less than on any other Friday. It’s just the thrill and the adrenaline that they excite over – the countdowns and the crowds and the exhaustion, I guess if that’s the kinda stuff that excites you, that can be fun. I get it.
In middle school I used to go with my friend and her older cousin, she would shop for her little kids. They’re boys and would always want the biggest and greatest toy or gadget coming out that year. I went Black Friday shopping with them a few years in a row. We bundled up, layers upon layers, gloves, scarves, hand warmers, fuzzy socks and hot chocolates from 24 hour Dunkin Donuts. We’d wrap in a line all around the entire building of Toys R Us. We would be right outside of the shipping and delivery door. Except for one year, we were some of the first in line. And we were the first out. It was hilarious running through the isles of toys and mountains of shelves of furniture and trinkets, grabbing things and going on missions for toys for some kids that I didn’t even know.
We’d go to Denny’s for some breakfast after, and we’d be so delirious and giddy and over-tired it would feel like we’re drunk.
So I guess I understand the thrill.
I’ve worked in retail my entire life and I’ve already gone on my rants about that on here, but just to emphasize: retail workers are real people.
I repeat, retail employees are real people.
The company I work for, LUSH, doesn’t actually offer any Black Friday sales. We price our products at what they are because that’s how we pay our farmers, employees, manufacturers, and compounders a fair wage. So like, if we discounted our products, we wouldn’t be able to pay our employees, and so that’s just not gonna happen. I’m a LUSH snob, what can I say? We have products of value and you pay for what you get, remember that. You also pay for what’s going on behind the scenes… remember that. Is your 2 dollar shirt really worth it if there’s child labor or harsh employee practices and unhealthy working environments involved? No.
It’s made me a lot more aware of how disgusting the idea of a sale actually is. They basically glorify the fact that they were overcharging you to begin with, and they’re like “Hey! how awesome is this!?” to try and steer you away from asking yourself the question “well, why couldn’t you just have priced this at the discounted price to begin with?”
Whether it be some type of fresh product or grocery store sale, where the food is getting older and they have to mark it down – I understand. Or if it’s clothes and the fall collection is coming out so the summer sale is in full effect – I understand why they do it. I just don’t think it’s right. Using our wallets and manipulating our idea of value to get a profit. You have officially been fucked by the system, ladies and gentlemen.
So when you’re Black Friday shopping today, even though the chunk of the shopping is mostly done by now, remember your own idea of worth, of value, of price and what you’re paying for. Also, be nice to the lady at the cash register because she’s probably a seasonal holiday hire and hasn’t been at this too long. And the sales manager on the floor has a lot more numbers and bullshit going through their head than you can imagine, and they’re not just standing there doing nothing, they’re observing their sales floor and making sure nothing is burning down, sending their employees on breaks as quickly as possible and when possible, and they’ve been standing on their feet for too long. And be nice to the sales associate who is just as tired as you, probably hungry and under some pressure in addition to helping you find what’s on your list. Just be nice.