Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
Thanks to the tradition of giving salaried workers the Friday after Thanksgiving as a vacation day + the availability of cheap credit + big sales and heavy retail promotions– the last Friday in November became the biggest shopping day of the year decades ago.
As a protest against rabid consumerism and the commercialization of Thanksgiving and Christmas– economic protesters created the concept of Black Friday several years ago. As such, it was promoted as a day to stay home from the stores and not “shop ’til you drop”.
The buy local movement first tried to co-opt Black Friday and turn it into a protest against shopping at multi-national chain stores a few years ago.
More recently, the multi-national chain stores have successfully buried the shopping protest movement and adopted the Black Friday label as their own. The 700+ pages of advertisements that were included with today’s Arizona Daily Star plus 2! front page stories in the Star about shopping (and they call themselves journalists?) are evidence that rabid consumerism is alive and well in the US. There are even Black Friday coupon websites that promote shopping at Target, Kohl’s, Sears, and others.
I agree with the buy local movement’s spin on Black Friday. If you really want to shop on the Friday after Thanksgiving, buy local. Don’t support the multi-national chains who exploit workers in other countries– and consumers at home.
Let’s recapture the true meaning of Black Friday– a day of protest against over-the-top consumerism and the nationwide chain stores who push cheap imports upon us.
2011 UPDATE: Occupy Movement encourages citizens to shop Mom and Pop stores on Black Friday.