The American tradition of Thanksgiving has become tightly coupled with the tradition of Black Friday, which follows shortly after a family has finished and somewhat digested a hearty thanksgiving meal together. This year, Black Friday starts competing for attention with Thanksgiving itself – one clothing retailer starts their sales at 4 pm on Thursday instead of midnight! The slippery slope of capitalism infringing upon the sanctity of truly human moments like Thanksgiving dinner seems to be coming to realization.
It’s quite possible that by the time you are reading this you have already returned home from a crazy morning of lineups and doorcrasher sales. Looking back, there may be an action or two you regret (or not). I hear that such bonanzas have migrated north of the border, where such madness was reserved for Boxing Day. Saving money and getting a good headstart on Christmas gift shopping is no doubt a good thing, but I recommend some considerations to keep us all from slavishly feeding the beast:
- As of printing this I have taken myself out of the country so I can avoid even feeling the spirit of the frenzy
- Some friends of mine have dubbed today “Bless Friday” and rather than lining up to shop for cheap TVs, they will shop to stock up on whatever St. Vincent de Paul is short on. “Black Friday is about Bargains – Bless Friday is about values”
- There seems like an endless race to the bottom with prices and opening hours – what impact do brands who participate in these have on employees? Are employees being taken away from their families in order to help get the store set up and open? Are low wages forcing people to work more unreasonable hours, and are the cheap electronics keeping the pressure on wages to stay low? One outdoors retailer is remaining closed and encouraging employees and customers to #optoutside.
- When lining up for doorcrashers, do we see the face of Christ in the others who are also out in line? Again, what family time have we sacrificed by getting to the Outlets earlier?
With a renewed focus on the Church’s social doctrine, especially when it comes to labour, just wages and family life, the values of Black Friday seem to clash with the values of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the Church itself.
By all means, find a good deal and get what you need – just try not to lose your head or your heart in the process!
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