Black Friday? No Thanks!


A little known media secret:   we reporters tend to laugh at the people camping out in line on Thanksgiving waiting for the stores to open on Friday…the so-called Black Friday.

Case in point:   A few years ago we interviewed a woman who blew off Thanksgiving dinner so she and her family could wait in line at Best Buy.   They camped out on a cold sidewalk at 11AM on Thanksgiving Day, knowing full well the store didn’t open until the next day.    By the time our report aired at 11PM, they’d been there 12 hours, and the store wasn’t scheduled to open until the next morning.   What a great Thanksgiving!

Something is really wrong with that picture.    What could be so important inside that store to throw away a whole day?   They could have been home having a Thanksgiving dinner, and don’t say they couldn’t afford it.  If they could wait 18 hours for a $149 Blue Ray, they could have had dinner.   For the record, I don’t have a Blue Ray.  They’re great, and I may get one some day, but I won’t be wrapped in a sleeping bag on cold concrete to do it.

When the I-phone went on the market, we interviewed a high school student who skipped school to get one of the first phones…and the kicker:  his mother called in sick to her job so she could sign the paperwork for him.   What did she tell his principal?     Keep in mind the phone was still going to be available when the boy got out of school in the afternoon.   This is just plain  wrong.   But, thanks to the mom for doing that, because it gave the Eyewitness Newsroom a hearty guffaw.

We in the media are guilty in this craziness.  We encourage this madness with all our coverage of Black Friday even though as reporters interview sleep deprived shoppers huddled in the cold they are thinking “what’s wrong with these people.”

There are questions I want answered:

1.  When you are camped out for 16 hours where do you go the bathroom?

2.   Are you concerned your children are cold?

3.   What about eating?

4.   What are you teaching your children about the meaning of Thanksgiving?

Black Friday has turned deadly in some cases.  In Staten Island, New York a Wal-Mart worker was trampled to death in 2008 the moment the store opened….crushed by a throng of shoppers who’d been camping out all night waiting for bargains.        In California, two people were shot while arguing at ToysRUs.   What kind of loser brings a gun to a toy store?

Sure, there are some deals to be had on Black Friday, but considering the economy, something tells me the deals will be around days for days to come.    Is it really worth it to go through all of this to save money?

I’ll wait for cyber Monday and celebrate Thanksgiving at home.

Read about my department store career: http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/from-detective-to-news-anchor/

4 replies »

  1. Good points Dennis. I have never been one to camp out for days to get a “deal” on something. My feeling has always been, by the time I am there for all that time it really did not become as great a deal as one thinks. I have done the “Black Friday” shopping in the past, going to the store at 5am with all the other crazy people.If I got in the store and the item was gone, not a big deal. I find that we are teaching our children that having the newest, and greatest of everything is all there is to life. I vote for a move back to old fashioned values where family was the most important thing.


  2. Our society has put too much emphasis on commericalizing EVERYTHING. As parents, we need to instill in our children- the important aspects of life.

    I feel badly for the employees at these stores that open so early. A few hours sleep after a turkey dinner is worth more than saving a few dollars.


  3. I am with you Dennis. These deals will be around quite a awhile this year. I am glad i didn’t miss Thanksgiving with my family. Old fashioned Christmas’ were filled with a lot of home made gifts…which is a lot nicer than many toys out there now.


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