Every year, I run a Black Friday thread that details all of the video game deals that will be happening. I run this particular thread for two main reasons:
- I love a good sale on video games
- I want all of the information to be combined and available in one goddamn place, not strewn all over the internet
However, this year in particular, I've noticed a trend that...in all honesty...disgusts me. More and more stores are opening on Thanksgiving Day. We're not talking about stores opening at 10:00pm or something. We're talking about 5:00pm, 6:00pm, times like that. It's fucking annoying.
My family celebrates Thanksgiving every year in a very minimalist fashion. It's my parents, my two brothers, our grandfather and our uncle. That's it. We don't have big family get-togethers, namely because we live in Texas and the majority of any living family is either in Canada or Ohio (with my mother's family scattered all kinds of places). We'll get some visits from our old friends and such, but beyond that, we keep it relatively quiet. In the last year or two, we've added my nephew (my youngest brother's son) and two girlfriends (mine and my other brother's) to the table. This is the Thanksgiving we've known the entire time we grew up: we had one spot to be at, we took about an hour or two to eat, then we sat around and did nothing for the rest of the day. We've recently added darts to the mix, but beyond that, it's simple. In all honesty, growing up poor, we were lucky if we even had more than a turkey that my father was given at work and some stuffing and carrots. Nowadays, with more of us being older, the table isn't nearly as barren. We are genuinely THANKFUL on Thanksgiving for the fact that we are alive, loved, and have each other.
However, not until a little over a year ago when I started dating my girlfriend did I finally take part in a "big family Thanksgiving." Most of her father's immediate family lives here in Texas, and her parents are divorced. This means that there are at least two Thanksgiving dinners to go to, and if her mother and step-dad stay in town, it's three total.
I've never known what it's like to see 20-30 people in one house for Thanksgiving until then. I never knew that you could have almost four tables worth of food laid out. I never knew what any of that stuff was like. The hectic nature of it all, especially since that first Thanksgiving with her was only about three weeks into dating, was absolute madness to me.
That madness immediately made me think about Black Friday shopping, namely because this part of her family's idea of after-Thanksgiving fun time is to go wait in line at stores for Black Friday and then try to get the best sales possible. They will literally be on speakerphone at different stores with each other offering explanations of wait times in line, position in lines, what sales they are going for. It's like a fucking military operation hunting down a terrorist (please don't get angry at me like I'm Tom Cruise for that comparison OMG!).
Now, this whole thing didn't happen until later in the night - sometime after 10:00pm. However, now with the times being pushed up towards the 5:00pm - 6:00pm area at some stores, the family has pushed Thanksgiving time up to around 10:00am.
My first thought: this is fucking ridiculous.
Thanksgiving is a time when you should be with your families, a time when we give thanks to...whatever is out there...for the harvests to be plentiful in the upcoming year. It's a time of feasting and resolution of problems over the year. It's a time to celebrate the beauty of the fall, the glory of nature, and the turning of the seasons.
It's being trampled on by goddamn consumerism. This may seem like one of those rants that you hear around Christmas time, that Christmas is just a commercialized holiday. You might be right. I don't know, nor do I care if it is. The commercialization of Christmas is drastically different in my opinion to what Thanksgiving and Black Friday has become. People care more about a fucking sale on needless shit than they do about being with their families for the day.
What pisses me off more is the thought that people have to work on goddamn Thanksgiving.
I didn't honestly mind this Black Friday shit whenever it was actually ON Black Friday. However, it's invading some personal space now, a comfort zone that I don't care to lose. What happens next year? Stores open at noon on Thanksgiving Day? Hell, my work place is opening at 6:00pm on Thanksgiving Day...and staying open for 30 straight hours...and I have to work the midnight to noon shift. We're just a small local business with literally two employees. It's come to the point that even a small business needs to find ways to take advantage of this Black Friday time because of how much of a boost to your overall profits it will be.
So I say this to you all: think first about Thanksgiving and put Black Friday in the back of your mind. Think about your friends and family. There are many gifts and prizes to acquire at a store, but none of them will ever be the same as a hug or a kiss or a meal with your family and significant others. This is a time where you should enjoy this comfortable space with the people that matter, with the ones that...when they leave this Earth one day...you will cry for and mourn.
I know that is not the exact situation for everyone, but it is for me.
I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.
Until next time, piece.