With only a little more than a week until Black Friday, the hoopla has once again started over the shopping craziness starting on Thanksgiving Day. It happens every year and my newsfeed on social media is telling me to keep family at the center of Thanksgiving. People have started ranting about how shopping on this day is unfair to employees who are forced to work. It goes on and on with people bashing both the companies for being open and the holiday shoppers for not boycotting. In case you’re on the fence, I have 10 reasons not to boycott early Black Friday sales.
1. You Love It
If you love the hustle and bustle of Black Friday shopping then by all means, go! I absolutely love the craziness of this event. It is an entire subculture that has its own rules and social norms. It is also a group of paradoxes. Many shoppers are the best of friends hanging out in line, sipping their coffees, waiting for the stores to open. Once it does, it is every woman for herself, friend. Sure, I gave you change for that latte but once we get in the store I will not save that last razor scooter for you instead of getting it for my kid.
2. You Don’t Need a Holiday to Celebrate Family
I don’t know how your family is, but mine doesn’t need a government-sanctioned holiday to celebrate our family. In fact, we make it a point to spend time together as a family often, whether that means trips to the zoo or simple playing board games together. My love for and devotion to my family is not determined by my availability on one singular day of the year.
3. Family Members Watch the Football Game
Do you have members of your family who plop in front of the TV and stay glued to the football game until dinner time? Heck, some of them even eat their meal in front of it. Is this the quality family time everyone is fighting for? You cannot condemn one person’s hobby over another. If a hobby is not destructive or harmful to yourself or others, it cannot be invalidated by another.
4. The Multiple Function Scramble
Have you ever spent one of these family holidays looking at your watch and constantly shuttling the family from one meal to the next? If you have, you know that the holiday becomes too stressful to enjoy that way. Yet, if you cut back, inevitably someone feels left out or like it is a reflection of how much you love them. I would much rather fight hordes of people running to discount toasters than deal with this stress.
5. You Don’t Mind Heaps of Judgement
Judgement abounds over the decision to shop over Thanksgiving. In fact, I know people who have missed Thanksgiving dinner for years, even before stores began pushing back opening times because they were napping in preparation for the big excursion. This has been a point of contention for some family members. However, if you don’t mind having the judgement piled on, by all means, do your thing. Oh, and don’t forget about the judgement from strangers who don’t even know you or your family. That will be served up on a platter along with Thanksgiving side dishes.
6. You Are Part of a Military Family
When you live the military life, nothing follows traditional societal norms. If your husband is deployed over a holiday, you are just grateful if you get the chance to Skype. If you want to go and pick up Christmas gifts on Thanksgiving Day (and Friday) I say do it! I have been there, done that, and literally have the t-shirt. (I’ll show you that on Black Friday. Don’t worry.)
7. The National Holiday
Congress didn’t make Thanksgiving a set holiday until 1941. This was actually done in response to FDR pushing the traditionally celebrated date back to lengthen “the Christmas shopping season” (Plimoth.org). Prior to all of this, the President had to announce Thanksgiving each year. You can read more about the fascinating history of this holiday by checking out the article “Thanksgiving History”.
8. No One Boycotts Non-Retail Arenas
The argument that by shopping on Thanksgiving you are responsible for people being pulled away from their families on this holiday is hypocritical at best. I have never seen people up in arms over others who are forced to work this holiday. No one is touting that hospitals or military bases should be closed. No one is posting internet memes about the rights of NFL players to be home with their families on this holiday. What about the families gathered to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? People have to work that as well. The fact is that it is their job and they knew that when they took it, end of story. I worked retail in college and I never blamed the shoppers for having to work on holidays. I knew that was part of the gig when I applied.
9. Your Budget Dictates It
Sometimes your budget necessitates the need to shop Black Friday sales no matter how early they fall. This one tends to especially irk me personally because those same people judging moms for shopping on Thanksgiving are the ones buying their children hundreds of gifts for Christmas all marked from Santa. This forces the parents that cannot afford to do so to have to explain to their kids about the inconsistencies in a way that still allows them to preserve the childlike magic of the holiday. I pray that these people never face the reality of such a situation and if you are one of the people, whose budget dictates the kind of deep discounts found on Black Friday, hold your head high and know that you are doing what you can for your family.
10. You Love a Strategic Challenge
The last reason you should absolutely shop on Thanksgiving Day is that you love planning, strategy, and a challenge. Black Friday sales force even the cleverest and well organized planners to prioritize and pull out all of their tools. If you don’t have a plan, you will fail, plain and simple. You need to know when stores open, prioritize how stores rank in importance on your list, and also how individual items within the stores rank in order of importance. If you don’t have a plan that contains these things you will be running around confused and most likely miss out on the most important deals from your gift list.
So, now that I have alienated half of my family and friends, what are your thoughts? Weigh in on the great Black Thursday debate in the comments. Or if you are a Black Friday lover like me, check out my 10 Tips for Shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.