A eulogy on Black Friday

And it’s Black Friday.

The day when savvy shoppers get up way too early to save big bucks on those special items for Christmas. They wait in line — sometimes in tents for days, if need be — to be the first for that special whatever. They are SWAT teams who plan their shopping attacks with military precision — hitting each store at the exact perfect sell time.

Or they are absolutely crazy, depending on your point of view. Nothing is worth getting up at 4 a.m. Unless you’re a hunter or fisherman. Then it’s okay. Although the aforementioned early shoppers will argue they, too, are hunters, they just use plastic as their weapon of choice.

The early shoppers/crazies have long since left the comfort of their beds before this newspaper even hit their driveway. The fortunate ones, who managed to finagle today off, are still asleep. The unfortunate ones are slumping off to work and will complain of being stuffed all day long.

And it’s Black Friday.

So named because it is the “official” start of the Christmas selling season, when many retailers finally start to turn a profit — or go in the black as accountants like to say. Some say it’s a pretty fair indicator of the economy, if there’s major buying, people have more disposable income.

And Black Friday is dead. Long live Black Friday.

This year, many big retailers are jumping the gun — actually opening on Thanksgiving evening. Which changes the day of giving thanks to Gray Thursday or Brown Thursday or just another shopping day.

Can’t we give it a rest for one day?

Don’t get us wrong. As a newspaper, we support our advertisers and hope those customers have an incredibly successful season. But we started Christmas before we even ate the turkey. And now we’re starting the so-called biggest shopping day a day earlier, and on Thanksgiving no less. Thanksgiving is a special holiday, a day to give thanks. Not shop.

Interestingly, a few major retailers are refusing to follow the Gray Thursday route and remained closed on turkey day — Costco, Nordstrom, Burlington Coat Factory, TJ Maxx, Ross and Marshalls to name a few.

Another point to consider. In three states — Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island —shopping is banned on Thanksgiving. Residents there have repeatedly voted against changing the law. It will be interesting to see how consumers react to stores that open on Thanksgiving. For that, we’ll know in a few days.

And to those who are out at all hours hitting the sales, we hope you’ll consider putting a little aside and drop it in a red kettle, or pick up an extra toy to donate to those less fortunate. You can also use the donation form on this page, with all proceeds from Fill the Stocking being split equally between Bridging the Gap, Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army.

We want this to be a special holiday season for all, especially for those who can’t afford it.



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