Black Friday Frenzy and Employee Furor. What's a Retailer and Shopper to Do?

A non-shopper's perspective on the Black Friday Frenzy.

I worked mall retail in sporting goods for six years during my college and early adult years.  I made a conscious decision about my career choice and I was fully aware that certain seasons, such as back-to-school and the holidays, would mandate longer work hours.

Granted, the Black Friday Frenzy has certainly escalated over the years, but were the employees of big-box retailers really that blind to the industry standards when they agreed to go to work for them?

Retail by its very nature calls for longer than normal hours and somewhat more stout working conditions; standing for long periods of time, handling heavy freight, stocking racks and shelves, security watches, and grueling inventory practices, just to name a few. Lastly, let us not forget the "impossible-to-please" consumer and all the associated pleasures of serving that particular portion of the proverbial public.

While it is unfortunate for the infuriated employees, that their profession is both consumer and profit-driven, it is what it is; the retail-public writes their paycheck and will make no apologies for it.

Though our economic climate has caused such "retail-hardships" that even the most profitable big-dogs consider it necessary to create these additional and unpleasant hours, again - these employees made a conscious decision to work for them.  If they are truly so disgruntled with their working conditions, there is another choice that they can entertain.

While all of the media hoop-la is focused on the disgruntled, I feel pretty safe in assuming that  there is a healthy base of employees who are grateful for their jobs as well as the opportunity to work additional hours.

There are certainly special incentives that these big-box terrors could offer to their employees in an effort to sweeten the deal, thereby taking more of an offensive-recruiting approach.  Such an approach might actually attract those employees who are more willing and appreciative to work the holiday rush. Perhaps this approach actually did occur.  Just don't expect the mainstream media to disclose that particular detail as it dulls the "story".

These employees that are organizing and striking should not blame their big box bully employer entirely; they should be more accepting of the circumstances surrounding their career choice.  They should also recognize that there is a consumer-culprit driving this dollar-dash as well!

Chalk it all up to consumer mania gone mad over deals and steals.  We all see the horror stories on the news of children trampled, shoppers stun-gunned, and my-toy brawls; it's absolutely and certifiably NUTS! But these risks won't deter the deal-seeking shopper that is addicted to the adrenalized anticipation of the open door dash into retail oblivion.  They will be front and center,  lined and just dined,  chomping at the bit for the race-gate to finally open.

So what's a shopper to do when the stores open their doors even earlier than the year before?

Your guess is as good as mine!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Trish Gates November 22, 2012 at 01:54 PM
All the retailers should absolutely be closed on Thankgiving Day. It is a traditional AMERICAN holiday and they that open - are disrepecting it. Everyone can just wait one more day for the shopping mania. Me, I did all my shopping line already and am not going into ANY retail establishment.
Michelle Couch November 23, 2012 at 03:59 PM
I don't think it is our place to define or judge what the significance of Thanksgiving Day means to other individuals/families; nor is it our place to judge business practices as long as they are not physically harmful/abusive to others. A widow and her only daughter may want to spend time shopping together on Thanksgiving evening; especially if the daughter lives out of town. This may be their tradition of spending family time together. Again, my point being - it is not our place to define what others constitute as their family traditions. Many don't have family to spend Thanksgiving with; being able to shop that evening may have given them a outlet for the day's end. In years past, I can't recall such persecution over the gas stations that remain open, the drugstores, the movie theaters....that are open on T/G day - AND CHRISTMAS. So why are people so up in arms about this? One of my family traditions each year on Christmas day is to go to a post-dinner movie with my sister and my niece. We do it every year. That is a family tradition that I look forward to every Christmas Day. We even alternate who gets to pick the movie each year. Who are we to say that family members that enjoy shopping together, don't consider that as a family tradition. To each their own!
David Binder November 24, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Back in the mid-late 70's I worked at Rich's Dept Store at Lenox Square. Having survived 4 holiday seasons in the busiest mall in the Southeast at the time I felt I was well groomed for ANY retail experience that came my way. And I was right. The following 18 years of various retail experience were a piece o' cake in comparison. LOL.
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