Three words come into mind when Black Friday is mentioned: Sales, crowds, and greed. When the clock strikes midnight a day after Thanksgiving, the battle is on: an all-out of ordinary citizens shoving and pushing each other for an item that is treated as the last bread on the planet and in some cases death and injury occurs on this day. All the while the businessmen and store managers watch this battle of peasants proceed.
This is no longer about sales or lower prices, but plain and utter insanity. Why are we so fascinated in shopping when this day rolls around? Is it as simple as sales and lower prices? Or is it more of because the businesses flood people with ad’s to trick them into thinking they need to shop?
Every year when the smoke clears after the mad rush, there is a death that has occurred in at least one city somewhere in the country, or at least an injury. Every year employees at these businesses are forced to clock in at 11 pm and work nearly 12 hours often at minimum wage. In most cases at places like Wal Mart, Best Buy, Target and even at some restaurants, if the worker refuses to show up, they are either written up or fired and are out of a job in this economy.
Some make the argument that people could choose not to shop on Black Friday or employees can look for that other job in this economy that favors the rich, however that is not the point or the solution. When the radio and TV blasts with these over bearing sales, people cannot get away from it. They are surrounded by this noise that is penetrating into their minds and these sales are introduced as if the people are not doing the right thing if they do not shop. Then the day comes when they are massed in front of the doors of the business, ready to stampede like a pack of wild horses into the facility all the while the cash flowing into the pockets of the top executives who already have all the money that they could ever wish for. Meanwhile, a single mother who is working two jobs just to support her children is in a gridlock with another person barley skidding by just to get the hottest electronic of the year, and the workers of the store have to fight and pry the two off each other and the item.
At nine Wal Mart's in the country last year, at least 24 people were injured, that included a man shot in a failed robbery attempt. In 2008, a 34 year temporary employee at Wal Mart was trampled to death. Last year two men in a parking lot at a California Toys R' Us pulled out firearms and shot each other. It is no surprise that Wal Mart workers are refusing to work on Black Friday. Not only because Wal Mart doesn’t value their employees, but it is also a great opportunity to get the message out on the biggest shopping day of the year. These employees more than likely see these numbers too. They have heard the stories and they do not feel safe working in that environment.
When it comes to this day, the moral compass is lost for just about anyone involved. Is this day actually ‘stimulating the economy’? Is it really a good way for families with not a lot of money in their pockets to buy Christmas presents? Or do shoppers end up spending more on this day because they buy more stuff than they normally? In all, the real question that should be answered is, is this hurtful to our society? The deaths, the injuries, the fighting, workers being overworked to near death, should all speak for themselves. And it is evidence that there is no moral compass or compassion on this day and it echo’s so deeply into our society.
In this system where the consumer is supposed to have the almighty power, appears to be more controlled. Otherwise we would see Wal Mart or Target meet their demise after an accident occurred in their store. We never see the executives at these big businesses being arrested because someone’s life ended on their watch and because they made the environment unsafe; they are instead praised because their short term profit goals are met. It is always the poor one struggling to get by in their life that is thrown under the bus. It happens throughout our society in many ways. Where is the justice when those who have the money make bad decisions that endanger people’s lives? It seems as if they are instead praised for that decision.
The companies that practice bad business ethics must be scrutinized. With the much needed uprising at Wal Mart, it could be inspiration for workers at other companies who are treated the same way. In all, it has to come from the workers at these companies to bring their concerns to the consumer. These companies have much power, but if they are feeling public pressure from their consumers, they will be more open to help their workers since they care so much about profits.
Black Friday represents our society in a nut shell. The workers being paid close to nothing for strenuous duties, the ad’s shouting on the TV and radio to buy more, the little guy blamed for a mistake that is the big guys decision and of course, the profit over the people. We ordinary citizens are held accountable for our mistakes, so why shouldn't the one's who call the shots? The face of Black Friday must change. The worker and the costumer’s safety must be accounted for. I know on this Black Friday I am going to be 100 percent behind the workers of Wal Mart and any others who may protest. What will you do?