Sunday, November 18, 2012

Keep Black Friday on FRIDAY

Some of my well-meaning readers slightly misunderstood the course of action discussed in the preceding post.

That piece argues in favor of a boycott of Wal-Mart, Target and other "big box" stores on Thanksgiving. Keeping the stores open on Thursday -- allowing the traditional Black Friday stampede to segue into the preceding day -- means that employees must do without the traditional holiday meal in order to work long, long shifts of ten-to-twelve hours.

If customers abstained from shopping mania on what is supposed to be a patriotic and quasi-religious holiday, those employees could live better lives.

A ONE DAY boycott is all we need.

Alas, too many liberals have seen this situation as an opportunity to proclaim how virtuous they are. Sorry, but this is not a time for you to announce your superiority to the hoi polloi by affirming that you would never shop at the "big box" retail chains. Neither am I talking about such nonsensical prog memes as "Don't Buy Anything Day."

The people who express those sentiments mean well. But that kind of talk alienates the working class. Snooty, condescending and unrealistic prog memes breed the resentment that gave rise to the Fox News empire.

No, all I'm talking about is a simple idea that any All-American prole (like yours truly) can easily understand: Keep Black Friday on Friday.

Thanksgiving is for family and turkey and TV and football and arguments with your cranky Uncle Ed about some unimportant crap that happened twenty years ago. After you gorge, your body will want to doze-n-digest. (The over-indulgence, not the tryptophan, is what makes you sleepy.) Listen to the dictates of your body and keep your growing rump sofa-fied. Don't go out.

Tell your friends, tell your neighbors: Don't go shopping on Thanksgiving. No matter what kind of bargains are on offer, don't go to Wal-Mart. Don't go to Target. Don't go to K-Mart. Stay home.

Anyone who doesn't understand the reasoning behind this one-day boycott should read this supremely insulting comment from Wal-Mart management regarding the strike planned for Black Friday. (Also see here.) Unsurprisingly, Wal-Mart delivered its statement unto the world by way of Fox News:
In a statement to, Walmart spokesman Dan Fogleman characterized the movement as "another exaggerated publicity campaign aimed at generating headlines to mislead" customers and employees.
Wal-Mart proves, once again, that conspiracy theory is the first refuge of the right-wing scoundrel. The stressed-out employees aren't looking for headlines. They simply want to stay home with their families on Thanksgiving. They don't want to be forced to work all through the night on top of their standard 40-hour daytime shifts.
"We have a great group of associates at Walmart," the statement read. "We’ll have more than one million associates working throughout the holiday weekend and they’re excited about our Black Friday plans this year. This is the Super Bowl for retailers and we’re ready.

"We’ve been working on our Black Friday plans for almost a year now and we’re prepared to have a great event. Our associates care about providing a great customer experience on Black Friday and we’re confident that’s what customers will have at Walmart this year."
Excited? Excited? Freakin' excited?

How dare they! Wal-Mart management actually has the gall to say that their employees are excited?

I've heard from quite a few people who work for that company, and I can assure you -- every single one of them looks forward to The Event (as management calls it) with dread. Some employees are having a hard time sleeping, because they know that The Event will hit later this week.

These people are not "excited." They're pissed off.

We are talking about ill-paid workers employed by the richest retail company on earth. They're so badly paid that they qualify for food stamps even when they work full time.

All they want is one day off. The same national holiday that their parents and grandparents had off. Many of them don't care about the higher hourly pay. They just want to be with their families.

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day of remembrance and prayer and patriotism and family togetherness. It is not a day for manic shopping.

If you shop for unnecessary crap on Thanksgiving -- you suck. Plain and simple.

(Now that's the kind of prole-talk the folks in my neighborhood can understand!)

If you get caught up in consumer frenzy on a should-be-sacred holiday, you have no right to criticize the greed of others.

Stop making life hellish for Wal-Mart and Target employees! For JUST ONE DAY -- Thanksgiving -- stay home and eat your goddamn turkey!
Why am I still so ashamed to admit that ssd is my sole income? I dunno. I worked hard for forty years until I couldn't work anymore.

But I have a dog in this fight. The strike fund gets fifty dollars from my shrinking disability check that was going to go to getting Dave Emory's archived shows.


Thank you for your donation of US$50.00 on November 18, 2012 by your credit card ending in 5740!

Your support will help struggling Walmart strikers survive as they pressure their unjust employer to reform its awful, anti-worker practices.

Thank you for all you do,

- The team

By my math, Joe, you've cost me fifty dollars and Dave fifty dollars for a total of one hundred dollars. If I thought about it some more the total would go up.

Dammit. Now it looks like I'll have to drive from Delaware to Maryland to borrow money from Joseph. See ya soon, guy. ...and I'm just as scary in person as I sound in these posts.
Whoah with the prog meme thing! :)

Part of my life-plan, not yet implemented, includes not buying anything on an increasing number of days each lunar cycle, hopefully soon amounting to a whole quarter of a (proper lunar) month each month.

I didn't get here by following anyone. Similarly I plan to build up a domestic hearth spirit. I didn't get that idea from Alan Moore.

Commercial relations piss me off rotten. There's something wrong with anyone who doesn't feel the same way. That's me talking, not a prog meme that's using me as a vehicle :)

I hate having fuckers trying to sell me something, using their pathetic repertoires. In the UK, as well as standard appeals to greed and fear (I don't often buy the kind of shit that's sold to people who keep up with the Joneses, so I don't often meet appeals to snobbery!), I usually get told the salesperson wants to help me, and treated as if I'm a moron if I show any mental life whatsoever. Which is schizoid as hell - and culturally almost supremely prevalent in the UK.

If things don't go the way they want in a conversation, they soon start talking like sarcastic school-teachers, something I haven't experienced on the European continent.

Your campaign is great, but so is buying nothing for longer periods!
Dwight, by all means tell Dave Emory that I cost him money. THAT could be amusing.

Even more amusing than the tableau of someone trying to borrow money from me. This is true: Just now, I borrowed fifty CENTS to buy a cup of coffee.

(I get the senior discount even though I'm not yet a senior. All it takes is a little grey in the beard.)

b, I'm not standing in the way of anyone buying anything or resolving not to buy anything or...well, you know.

All I'm saying is this: Every time a liberal says something self-satisfied and smug, a new conservative is born.

That's how it works in the American context. Maybe you can tell me about the sitch in the U.K.
Good work Joseph! My family and I are eating on Thursday and then heading to our local Walmart with coffee and pie for the protesting workers.

There's a lot of that here too. It goes back at least to the 1980s. A lefty-liberal would nonchalantly refer to a 'sewage inspection pit cover' rather than a 'manhole', and someone who might otherwise have gone in a good direction would throw up his hands, think 'whatever I want to be, I don't want to be like that', and probably end up thinking it was OK to be racist and anti-welfare etc. Fanatical feminists of all types and gay blokes who got cushy-number public-sector and voluntary-sector jobs connected with the rise of AIDS were among the worst. Muesli still has a bad name in some circles. As does brown rice.

There was a hippy food 'co-op' in a town near where I used to live, which was good for various wholefoods, but probably not a patch on places in San Francisco. Big noticeboard advertising preening services and high-customer-throughput stuff. Vile cliquish scene. Low wages. Bosses who if you didn't like the price of something would offer you 10% off, not because they liked sharing or because they wanted to help you out, but because they didn't like the thought of letting a punter leave the shop whom they hadn't made any profit out of. For many items they were dearer than the chains. But I digress...

Working class hippies are still a sizeable demographic in a few places in England and Wales, although not in Scotland, and are usually much better.

Yeah...smugness and moralistic lifestylism...I get your point... Not sure where I'd draw the line, though. Gotta admit, when a young person wants to wear a leather-style jacket and makes an effort to find a synthetic one because he's a vegan, I admire the effort. On the other hand, when middle-class hippies look down their noses at 'ordinary' 'grey' working-class people because they're oh such planet-destroyers and don't go on all the right protest demonstrations, I have no sympathy whatsoever. I got into a big argument in a shop the other day because the arrogant idiot youngster at the counter wouldn't hand me a plastic bag (although he offered to sell me one) to put my purchases in, saying he 'agreed' with charging for plastic bags, because so many people wasted them. Yeah right, like I'd take 100 if they were 'free' and throw 98 down in the street. Argh! I returned everything I'd bought and made him give me my money back. What did I get from other customers? Mainly scowls!
Well b, nobody's taking my black leather jacket away from me. First, it's cool. Second, it's the only reasonably thick jacket I have right now, and the snows will come soon.

I didn't mean to insult those who refuse to shop at Wal-Mart. That's a reasonable personal decision. But you can't ask large numbers of people to follow you down that road. You CAN, I think, ask a large number of people not to shop on freakin' Thanksgiving.

You don't have anything quite like Thanksgiving in Europe. It's a strange holiday in that it has a religious aura wafting about it, yet there's no real religious festival connected with it.

At any rate, it's a tradition. And I think it ought to be observed in a traditional fashion. Respectful, dignified -- and NON-commercial.

Just this one day...!
The Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October. They give thanks to the Almighty for a bountiful harvest and that there are no republicans.
@ Mr. Mike,

...and for public option single-payer healthcare, which the USA will never have because of Republicans. Something that Obama had to remove before even presenting Obamacare to the legislature. Seriously, fuck this country. I want out. Obama's 2nd term will ultimately lead to nothing progressive because the Republican controlled Congress will block him every step of the way. Hooray for no progress.
If saying I never shop at Walmart was smug- I am's just the truth. I don't plan on shopping anywhere on Thanksgiving-not even Target (which I do shop)..
I am pretty tight paying my way out of debt and I don't have plans for Thanksgiving dinner, so I will pass on the donations. But observe their call for no shopping.
I've discovered peace of mind by completely ignoring national crass consumerism season. I highly recommend it. I avoid commercial TV and avoid all stores.

Beside, Mithras is the reason for the season ...

Why celebrate something that's obviously a combination of Roman imperialism and American Greed?
So your compromised version "buy nothing day" is somehow superior to Adbuster's ORIGINAL concept?

Come on now, Joseph. You can't give credit where credit is due?

Thank you for making a weakened case for the original plea, and please go one further, from others who preceded you: Saturday is Small Business Saturday. Buy nothing at all on Friday and on Saturday, go shop local. THAT is what will make a mark on the national psyche.

"Allowing" Black Friday to "remain" a frenzy is exactly what allowed it to bleed into Thanksgiving.

Adbusters was right. Please take another look.

Im with Joe and B on this. I believe non-buying will eventually be the non-violence of our age. You cant make other people stop buying, but I hate what they are trying to tell me I am. I like buying food and thats about it. The rest of it I dont need. I have already had a lifetime of buying. Im done with it.
Lou Welch

I don’t know what you’re going to do about it
but as for me, I know what I’m going to do about it.
I’m going to walk away.
Maybe a small part of it will die
if I’m not around feeding it any more.

Well, my main issue with black friday is that the "deals" are usually not. There is no deal so wonderful and spectacular that you won't be able to find it on some other, less hectic, shopping day. That has been my experience and my main reason for not ever shopping on black friday. That places like Wal Mart and Target force their employees to work on Thanksgiving only makes me want to stay home BOTH days even more. I would never shop anywhere on Thanksgiving anyway.
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