Black Friday isn't so bad

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

My nana didn't work on Black Friday this year.

It was the first year she's had the day off in a long time, and we spent it shopping in Branson. On the way home, I asked her how she felt about working on Black Friday.

"It feels great not to do it, but it's a way to make money," she said.

Her response surprised me, mostly because it's impossible to escape Black Friday naysayers the weeks leading up to and following Thanksgiving. Many of my friends on social media have shared memes insulting people who shop on Black Friday, saying we should stay at home with our families and avoid material things for at least 48 hours.

While I understand that, I also come from a family of shoppers and talkers. My mom and nana love going to stores and browsing, often chitchatting with fellow shoppers about mundane topics like the weather or the deals at the store. I have shopped on Black Friday with my mom quite a bit, and we enjoy it.

I'll admit that people go a little crazy when offered huge savings. I might even be one of those people on days when I've already paid rent but haven't received my next paycheck yet. I have encountered some of these people while shopping on Black Friday, but it's pretty likely for a small percentage of people to cause a ruckus at any given large-scale event.

We can all be jerks sometimes. If you dangle a $100 flat-screen television in front of any person, he or she will probably react impulsively before thinking the situation through. This is how humans work. That said, I haven't had any truly negative experiences shopping on Black Friday. One woman refused to talk to me while waiting in line to check out one year, and another completely ignored me after accidentally hitting me in the head with a shopping bag.

But no one punched me out. I have never broken a limb on Black Friday. I probably never will. From my perspective, Black Friday shopping is leaps and bounds more pleasant than most of its naysayers would suggest. Many of these people insist that it's a disservice to retail workers to be on call the day of Thanksgiving.

That's true to an extent; no one enjoys working on a holiday when spending time with loved ones is not only an option but the expectation. Still, there are many emergency workers who must be on call during every major holiday, like police officers, firefighters and medical professionals. The caveat to comparing a police officer to a cashier at Old Navy is that the cashier sells material goods and the police officer helps keep people safe.

Doesn't society care too much, these people ask, about material goods already?

That's a valid argument, but it's silly to to get so upset about Black Friday shopping when you can avoid it simply by staying home that day. Screaming and hollering about it on Facebook won't do anything except inspire that reporter at Carroll County News write a column about you. Thanks for that, by the way.

The people who are actually working Black Friday might not enjoy it in the moment, but there's something to be said about getting a paycheck. My nana has worked in retail for more than 20 years and she doesn't hate working on Black Friday. If anything, she's indifferent to it.

So why can't people who hate Black Friday feel apathetic toward it instead? That's a good compromise, right? Even passive-aggressive acceptance would be an adequate response.

You can feel free to roll your eyes when you see me wearing the jeans I bought on Friday.

I'll be too happy they were only $15 to care.

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Samantha Jones is a reporter for the Carroll County News. Her email address is CCNNews@cox-internet.com.