Why this long time shopper and deal blogger is boycotting Black Friday {with blog linkup!)

I have said before that my Nana Mary was the quintessential bargain hunter. She and I were bargain hunting long before it was a thing. Family and friends even used to give her tasks, like “Hey Mary, I’m looking for such-and-such, do you think you can find me a good one at a good price?” and off she’d go! Of course this was long before the internet, so she’d search over the phone or go from store to store, and she loved it. I miss her for many other reasons, but I often wonder what role she’d play in this blog if she were still alive today.

Shopping is fun and so is finding great deals. Getting the most out of your time and dollars is important, and a whole underlying theme of this blog. But we’ve gone too far in trying to score great deals. I’m talking about Black Friday. Actually, Black Friday isn’t really even the correct term anymore since so many stores are open on Thursday–a new practice that is being called “Black Friday creep.” And that’s what I’m boycotting.

I returned an item at Walmart on Friday and started chatting with the person who was helping me. We chatted about the holidays and the pending Black Friday sales. I mentioned that I used to work in retail and was glad I didn’t anymore, as stores are just opening earlier, even midnight. She looked at me and said, “We’re opening at 8 pm. Actually, we’re not even closing at all on Thursday, but our Black Friday deals will begin at 8 pm.” Do you know why they are not closing? Remember a couple of years ago when a Walmart employee was trampled to death? Well, that tragedy happened while he was opening the doors. And Walmart’s response to that–don’t close the doors, just stay open. And since people still went there in droves, I’m starting to think we’ve lost our way.

Then she said that she has to work until 4 pm on Thursday and her family’s dinner is at 1 pm, so she likely will miss seeing some elderly relatives because they don’t like to drive in the dark. That’s just not right. This is part of the problem with Americans today–not who is running our government. It’s valuing things over people. Money over family time. Stock share prices over valuing your employees’ family lives and well-being.

When we value saving $100 on a video game or TV over human life and spending time with our family,

it’s time to take a step back and shift our priorities.

And so that’s what I will be doing for my own household and my blog. I will not be doing any of the following:hate black friday, no black friday, anti black friday

  • shopping at any big box or department store, at any time during the holiday season (or ever again, if I can help it), if they are open on Thursday/Thanksgiving
  • promoting any deal at any big box or department store that is open on Thursday (I will still promote stores like CVS or Walgreens, because they have always been open on Thanksgiving because they sell medicine and other necessities)
  • promoting any deal at any big box or department store that does one of those “stays open 24/7 for the week leading up to Christmas.” If you cannot find time to shop for your kids at any other time except at 3 am a few days before Christmas, you do not need a 24/7 Toys R Us, you need a life coach.

For me and my family, I am shopping local first, then the internet. And no big box stores that support this practice.

Why have I just listed big box and department stores? Because they lead the way, they set the tone. I still want to be able to promote the smaller businesses that have shops in malls–I don’t feel it’s fair to actively not promote them when they really are strong-armed into the holiday hours. I bet it’s not the small crafter kiosk with 5 employees that is asking the mall to open at 8 pm or midnight. I’m all for a good shopping day with a friend or relative, but not on Thanksgiving. In my opinion, the best time of the year is Thanksgiving Day and the week leading up to Christmas. My husband’s Thanksgiving Day tradition includes the meal, then the movie Home Alone, making gingerbread houses and some family game time. Other families who do similar activities–I feel bad that some have to miss it just so that their company can sell doorbusters, doesn’t feel right. I know I’m just one small blogger and am probably not going to shut down Walmart’s entire Black Friday operation, but it’s one small thing I can do to support all the store personnel in all stores, who are giving up valuable family time because they need the work. It’s also a way I can lend support to the businesses (like Nordstrom’s) who stand up and say no to this and value families.

Opening at 6 am on Black Friday is sufficient. There’s no reason to open any earlier than that or have employees come in on Thanksgiving. It’s not a hospital, it’s a department store. Working on Black Friday used to be fun, even if we had to open at 6. We had food for everyone for their breaks, we did all sorts of sales games and contests and it was just a fun atmosphere. Now? I doubt it. How fun is it to try to get your employees that you’ve hired to work first or second shift to work the third shift? I guarantee you a lot of the work is falling on the backs of the salaried people. I don’t think it’s coincidence that this practice has blossomed when our economy is at it’s worst–people have less disposable income to spend, and people need jobs more than ever, so they can’t complain about working the overnight shift or long hours. Big businesses have taken advantage of both their customers and their employees.

If you are a loyal reader who isn’t on board with this idea, don’t jump ship just yet. I realize that I risk losing readers. Sure, I want the best value for my dollar too, and I promise I will still bring you plenty of options this holiday season. Those options just won’t include the big box stores, but there is still so much out there.  I’ll be able to bring you more fun and interesting things–I’m very much looking forward to this. In fact, I’ve already got several different versions of “10 Alternatives to Shopping on Black Friday” started-an outdoors version, a cooking version and more.

Other points to consider-I have read in several places that the best deals are NOT on Black Friday. They are usually found the weekend before Christmas. Numerous other studies show that shoppers who go out on Black Friday are more likely to ignore their budget and overspend. Why? Because of the herd mentality–you see 12 people grabbing for an item that you had no intention of ever purchasing, then you feel like you have to have it. Before you know it, you have purchased 4 or 5 things because they were a great price and overspent.

My suggestion is to visit your local small merchants on Small Business Saturday and support them (or on Friday). Marketing would like us to believe otherwise, but you can survive and even thrive and have a joyous holiday season without Black Friday at the big box stores.There will always be other deals, no matter how much a retailer cries “Lowest prices this holiday season!” Yeah, right.

If this shopping is a tradition in your home, start a new one. Crafts, baking, helping others, reading holiday stories to my kids, a holiday movie marathon … these are some of the things I’m planning.

Really, what do you think the CEOs and executives of the big box stores will be doing? Hard at work in the stores or home with their families?


anti black friday, hate black friday, boycott black friday

Comments

  1. I love that you are doing this!! Black Friday is really tainting what the Holidays are all about. I agree that it’s time for a major change in our thinking about giving. I am supporting Giving Tuesday, encouraging other to take the “Made in America Holiday Challenge” and to support small local businesses to make more mindful purchases.

  2. I really think you make good points and am happy to see you take a stand on BF. For the last 5 years or so I have completely avoided Black Friday shopping. I do Cyber Monday, but I really try to do my shopping well before “crunch time” any way. By black friday, I am just grabbing last minute items. I get better deals throughout the year.

  3. I’m sharing this on fb

  4. I find myself very frustrated with the stores that are opening on Thanksgiving. The motivation has to be $$ related, as paying employees Holiday pay for all that extra time is costly. It makes me sad though that those people can’t be with their families. But I have heard that a lot of retail employees just move Thanksgiving celebrations to later that weekend.

    • The problem is that most of these people are “seasonal hires” which means they are exempt from just about every perk. Being seasonal means the employer doesn’t have to pay overtime, holiday time, health care, anything!

  5. I agree that this opening on Thanksgiving night thing is getting out of control.

    I have to disagree about 24 hours stores though. I work 3rd shift, and I sleep during the day when my kids are at school. I am up by 4pm to do the dinner/homework/bed time with them because my husband does not come home from work until 10pm. The nights I am off from work, I am already well rested, so I do like the idea of being able to go out and shop. I respectfully disagree that I need a life coach. We all can’t be 9-5 workers with weekends off.

    I worked for Best Buy before my current job, and we all knew what was expected of us in terms of working on Black Friday and the entire holiday season.

    • That was meant to be mostly tongue in cheek. But let’s face it, people got along just fine and still were able to spend plenty of money before this madness started. Speaking as a former retail manager myself, it was very difficult to find decent holiday help and my company started people at $10 or $11 an hour! And this was almost 10 years ago.

      • You haven’t lost me as a reader due to the topic of this post: you’ve gained one! Never read you before, happened upon you by accident. I wholeheartedly endorse your feelings. I’ve never worked in retail and I’ve never shopped on ‘black’ Friday. Why is it even called that? It doesn’t make sense to me to shop like a maniac just to save a few bucks, or in the case of the ‘big box’ stores $100s or more! Some things should be sacred, like you pointed out. So, like you, I’ll shop local or online. I hate shopping anyway… just the typical Grinch here!!! Have a great set of holidays and enjoy your family time!

        • Thanks, that’s great to hear. My blog is always evolving and changing, especially now that I have kids. It used to be “all about the deals” now I’m finding that my time is important, muchmoreso than when I was in my 20s!

  6. Thank you for leading the pack and vocally taking a stand against this. Our children need to learn to respect and enjoy the holidays. The best way to do that is to set a good example.

  7. Kudos to you for taking a stand. We’ve got to draw the line at some point!

Give us your $0.02.