Black Friday is less than a month away, has the encroachment of the infamous day on Thanksgiving muddied the mythic holiday? Last year, several retail stores were open either all day or at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. This year some of the usual suspects, Kohl’s and Macy’s have confirmed Thanksgiving day shopping hours and many more stores are to be determined. Black Friday in the past has been the day that kicked off the most cut-throat time of the season.
Shoppers behaving badly, shopping carts at the ready engage in their aisle warrior rampage for the perfect gift, or the amazing deal on some item that they are selfishly seeking. While this vulgar display of consumerism has been encouraged by the retailers the last few years, current media outlets report a shift of putting Black Friday where it has always been, on Friday. When the greediest day of the year rolls around, it is the retail employees of these chain stores that are separated from their families and are subjected to physical, emotional, and verbal abuse. Thanksgiving is not an untainted holiday. There is a dark history of invasion and genocide that underlies the widely recognized holiday. Family and thankfulness have been the qualities that have been taught to many generations in their formative grade school years, but these supposed qualities mask the massacres of indigenous peoples. Native Americans are next to invisible in this country. The violence against protestors, the disenfranchisement of Native American concerns over water and lack of media coverage of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests are all part of the darkness of corporate greed and avarice, but also the mindless machine of consumerism.
As far as Black Friday stepping on or ruining any family value that celebrates overindulgence in not only food but also useless trappings. Having worked several Black Fridays, I have seen how ugly and vindictive consumers can be. They shove, pull, push, charge and fight like feral beasts. They verbally assault and sometimes physically assault defenseless retail employees who fear losing their jobs if they stand up for themselves. Black Friday encroaching on Thanksgiving doesn’t dirty a spotless holiday, but it certainly adds to a long list of depravities associated with a romanticized myth.