Thursday, November 26, 2015

Black Friday on Thursday

I'm in the top 15% of Americans by income. I'm not even close to rich - the top 2% have so much more money it's mindboggling - but at least 85% of the country makes less than I do. That means I really cannot comment on where other people should shop or when they should. My choices are born of privilege that others simply don't have.

I don't have to try and make $9 an hour ($18,720 a year) or even $15 ($31,200/year) feed and clothe and transport and educate and entertain my family - let alone the federal minimum of $7.25, which works out to $15,800 if you work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week every single week of the year (no holidays off and no getting sick).

I personally never shop at WalMart, but then I don't have to. And I don't have to shop on Black Friday to save some money. And that - that need - that's why all these memes - gods, I must have seen 60 at least this week - about how Black Friday is bad and extending it to Thanksgiving is pure evil and people who shop today are evil or stupid and probably both just annoy the hell out of me. (And don't even get me started on the ones that say straight up you shouldn't want anything more than you already have. I mean, this is just that whole undeserving-poor trope again: it's entirely possible to be sincerely thankful on Thanksgiving for what you have and still want to buy something else. Unless you don't plan to give anyone a Christmas present this year and don't want anyone to give you one, either, shut the hell up, okay?)

Ahem. This is what I mean:

I wish everyone in the country made enough money that they didn't need to save a few hundred bucks today.

But they don't.

So if you're shopping today or tomorrow, I hope you get what you wanted and save the money you're trying to save. And come home safely.

And on the flip side ... all the above means I don't have to depend on my employer's generosity or the whims of last-minute scheduling. I don't have to choose between working today and not working again. I don't have to hope for overtime to make that part-time or even full-time minimum wage stretch far enough ... see second paragraph above. And I don't have to swap working today for things that I need or even just want (see third paragraph...) Seriously. That is a problem I have never had to face. (Though I did spend a fair amount of time working whatever holiday fell into my swinging shift schedule ... always getting paid holiday time when I did.)

So if you're working today or tomorrow, I hope you have a good day. If you're working retail, I hope your customers don't abuse you; if you're working food services, I hope they do tip you well.

Happy holidays to everyone!

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At 4:09 PM, November 26, 2015 Anonymous Mark P had this to say...

I definitely understand what you're saying. Criticisms of things like Black Friday can be pretty supercilious, especially since they almost always come from the privileged classes. What bothers me is the hypocrisy. Many of those who act so above things like Black Friday are integral parts of the consumerist society.


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