Thanksgiving and Pragmatism

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I am thankful for stuff. Family, both biological and chosen. A great job. Awesome friends. Books and gadgets and whatnot. Kitties!

However, I am ambivalent about Black Friday. So many feelings. Here they are.

I think it sucks that some companies are open today, Thanksgiving. Well, that’s not exactly true. It sucks that some people who would rather be at home with their families are forced to work in a industry that has stores that historically did not open on Thanksgiving. When they got the job, they thought they would at least get that day off. For instance, it doesn’t bother me that L.L. Bean, which has been open 24 hours a day, 365 a year for FOREVER, is open because I know anyone who works there knew when they started that they might have to work on Thanksgiving (and I suspect they start with volunteers when they do the scheduling.)

Now, regarding Black Friday, let me start right off by saying I am not one who loves to go shopping. Running around in stores, crowds, and browsing are not fun for me. When I go to a store I am planning on buying something specific* (for the most part), and I usually try to buy it online first. An exception would be my recent purchase of eyeglasses; I did NOT want to buy them online because I needed to try them on to see how they looked on my face. So I visited 4 different stores, and finally picked out one pair I liked – eyeglasses are a big purchase, tho. I will be wearing them for the next couple of years.

But I don’t have a problem with stores doing black Friday sale extravaganzas – on Friday (any time after midnight). I have a lot of friends (and my husband) who object to the commercialization of it all, and they do have a point, but I think it can be fun. And the pragmatic part of me loves to get things for cheap.


Two years ago my work monitor upgraded to a 23″ screen, which made it difficult to transition/work remotely in my home office. So my goal was to get a new monitor to match. After rejecting the insane midnight line at Best Buy, I set my sights on Staples instead. I got there early (was one of a few) and they gave me a guarantee I could get the item I wanted, and I went back to wait in my car. At the time, I wouldn’t have been able to afford this monitor otherwise.

This year Edmund and I have already rejected the idea of trying to upgrade our television to an HD (because we really don’t need an HDTV). But today I noticed Amazon had a new Sprint phone was $.01 if we re-upped our plan. Edmund has been overdue for a new phone, and saving $200+ on one, well, we just couldn’t resist. (I told him I could pay for his new phone on my card. He won’t have to pay me back the $.01. Generous, aren’t I?)

Tomorrow I have idea of a couple of things I would like to buy, if only because I will save money if I buy them now rather than later.

Now about the workers on Black Friday, I’ve worked retail, and when I did I knew I was expected to work on Black Friday. I think they made exceptions (you always have to have exceptions), but the rule was you work on the Friday after Thanksgiving. And the people I worked for made it as fun as they could, providing food and making sure we got our breaks. And when you are that busy, the day goes by pretty fast.

Ok. What was my point? I guess that the idea of Black Friday is much more complicated than: It Sucks! It’s AWESOME! Parts of it are good, and parts of it are lame. Going insane over a Furby, not cool. Paying one cent for a $650 phone, super cool. Employees being pressured to work, not cool. Employees making extra money for working hours they volunteered for: AWESOME.

I could go on. But I won’t. Because it’s TURKEY TIME!

*The exceptions: bookstores and stationary/pens