From thankful to thoughtful: Conscious consumption on Black Friday

As November marches on, we get ever closer to the holiday frenzy that peaks December 24th, when the stores finally throw customers out to go spend some time with the precious family members for whom they’ve been shopping like mad.  It seems that the “Christmas season” starts earlier and earlier each year in retail-land.  And Thanksgiving seems to be the only pause in the action.  If we’re fortunate, for one precious day we get to spend time with our loved ones, enjoying a meal and giving thanks for all we have.

While you rest for a moment in that space of love and gratitude, I urge you to extend your thoughtfulness to the holiday shopping you may have planned later this week.  Retail giants are clamoring to attract every last dollar they can.  They use door busters, coupons and extended hours to lure us in.  And it works.  We’ve all seen the footage of parents gone wild trying to be the first one to get their hands on the flavor-of-the-year toy, fellow humans be damned.  It’s funny, but it’s also sad.  Less than 24 hours after giving thanks for all that we have, we are fighting over stuff with the intensity refugees might bring to a food drop.  Really?  Are we that desperate?

Everyone I know has more stuff than they need (and even want).  Sure, there’s always something else we might need, and who doesn’t love a great price.  But consider the cost.  What we all seem to complain about most is a shortage of time.  So consider spending Friday with loved ones, a sort of Black Friday for the time deficit you may have in the relationship department.

And consider how taking retailers up on their extended hours (now beginning on Thanksgiving itself!) robs employees of their chance to slip into a nice food coma alongside their relatives.  Is our desire to start shopping before the turkey gets cold really more important than other people’s time around the table with their loved ones?

If we have Thanksgiving off of work, we should be grateful, and stand in solidarity with the employees that work at big box stores who are fighting for the same time off other non-essential workers get for the national holiday.  It’s not like Walmart, Staples, BestBuy, Target, Macy’s and Sears (to name a few greedy retailers that are open on Thanksgiving) offer life-saving services like hospitals do!  I say, let’s stand with the workers and say no to shopping on Thanksgiving and before sunrise on Black Friday.

Fortunately, there are several notable hold-outs still honoring the Thanksgiving holiday.  They include: Home Depot, Costco, Dillards, Nordstrom/ Nordstrom Rack, Burlington Coat Factory, TJ Maxx, Marshalls and BJ’s Wholesale Club.  All of them will remain closed on Thanksgiving day.  Perhaps they deserve our dollars instead.  On Friday at 9am.  Or better yet, on Monday, after we can no longer stand to be around our relatives, but can’t wait another day to start shopping for their holiday gifts.

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