Black Friday begins Thursday

Published 10:10 am Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The commercialization of spiritually significant holidays is undeniable.

At every turn, we are reminded that nothing would make the next holiday better for ourselves, or love ones than the purchase of (fill in the blank.) Whether it is Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving or Independence Day, retailers convinced us that the only way to squeeze a few extra drops of enjoyment out of a festive day is to shop, all the while convincing us we are saving money by doing so.

Traditionally, the mania surrounding pre-holiday shopping has been limited to…well…pre-holiday. With the exception of Christmas shopping, which now begins sometime around Memorial Day, we typically waited until the passing of one holiday before we’d begin preparation for the next.

Even shopping on Black Friday, a full-blown national holiday, could wait until the turkey got cold and the calendar actually said Friday.

Until now.

Several retailers, many of whom have waited 11 months to turn a profit, are so anxious to hear the jingle of their cash registers that they are going to open their doors to Black Friday shoppers on Thursday night.

On the national holiday we have set aside to gather with loved ones and express the many blessings of life, big box retailers will be flinging open their doors and luring in shoppers with the promise of even more blessings at greatly reduced prices. Some are opening even before the dishes will have a chance to be washed or a second round of pumpkin pie consumed.

And it’s a downright shame.

Now that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate the healthy boost that Black Friday provides to our economy. Quite the contrary; we’re thrilled that today’s issue of The Tidewater News contains more sales inserts than it will on almost any other day of the year. It makes Black Friday a good day for our own economy and retailers who advertise to drive traffic to their doors.

However, the staff of this paper — including the newsroom, advertising, press operators, mailroom and carriers — work hard the week of Thanksgiving so they can spend the entire day with their families. Luring folks in to their stores that night, staffed by employees who likely would rather be home enjoying their tryptophan and football induced comas with loved ones, seems contrary to the meaning of a day set aside to give thanks.

Of course these businesses have the right to do it. It is well within the rules. It is also in poor taste. We wish they would keep Black Friday separate from Thankful Thursday.

We, the staff of The Tidewater News, have many things to be thankful for this year; among them we count you, our readers. From our family to yours, have a happy, safe and joyous Thanksgiving.