US Thanksgiving/Black Friday
In my opinion US Thanksgiving weekend is the official start of the holiday season. Nothing beats getting up on the last Thursday in November to the wonderful Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. If the parade doesn’t get you into the spirit of the holidays, nothing will! Who doesn’t love those giant balloons, marching bands from all over the US, beautiful floating and the anticipation of Jolly Olde Saint Nick at the end of the parade? I’ve always had the luxury of being at home watching the parade, followed by the National Dog Show and almost always an afternoon of tears with the classic ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ starring the wonderful James Stewart and of course football for the rest of the day.
In recent years Black Friday has moved from 5 AM frenzy on the actual Friday to retailers opening their stores on Thanksgiving which annoys me to no end! Thanksgiving is a time of thankfulness, friend and family travelling great distances to share loving memories, good times and amazing food and so the entire day should be reserved for this ritual. Being an avid cross border shopper I have talked to many retail workers telling me how they have to work for minimum wage and if they don’t show up to work (a Mandatory day) they could stand to lose their jobs, now how sad is that!
Canadian retailers have jumped on the Black Friday bandwagon and are totally out of touch with the significance and true meaning of this ‘sacred shopping day’ which should be for the US and US alone. Canadian retailers need to stick to what Canada does best and that’s Boxing Day. For those of you that don’t understand Boxing Day, it is a holiday traditionally celebrated the day following Christmas Day, typical to the United Kingdom and its commonwealth dating back to the early 1800s where servants would have their Christmas (day off) and would receive gifts, known as a "Christmas box", from their employers.
Black Friday means - foregoing family, friends and holiday traditions, camping in parking lots, ramming through doors at the expense of other peoples safety - beating your fellow man to a pulp for a $5 Barbie doll or a $150 for a 50 inch TV. Whack jobs coming out at wee hours of the morning in PJ's and fuzzy slippers whilst their infants sleep in their car seats in frozen cars. Black Friday also includes heavy security, police presence and barricades and obstacle courses trying to get into the store; essentially risking your life for that sweet heart of a deal. Canadian’s aren’t hardy enough to partake in a true US Black Friday; we’re just too polite and courteous I suppose by nature or naturalization. American retailers start the hype weeks in advance, enticing the consumer with pre-black Friday ads on their websites (in some cases right after Labour Day). US consumers print store maps, tag team with friends and family and plan their attacks meticulously.
I actually went to Walmart (Black) Friday morning to pick up a smart TV, not so smart I’ll be returning this week and I was in total disbelief I was one of a handful of people in the store. I could have fired a cannon and no one would have been hurt, the place was empty. You just CANNOT have a sale on a work day and call it Black Friday. People will not forgo lost wages to spend money and shop ~ No to Canadian Black Friday!!