To say that I have a dislike of Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving where retailers offer massive discounts — is an understatement. I loathe everything about this day, and I think you should, too. Now, I would be all for Black Friday if it meant all Americans listened to Prince’s “Black Album” all day, but unfortunately that is not the case. Here are a few of the reasons why I am forever boycotting the abomination known as Black Friday.
1. Black Friday is not a real thing.
Thanksgiving is a real holiday (although we won’t even delve into its problematic nature when it comes to the Native Americans, because that’s a whole other ball of wax), but Black Friday is NOT. A. REAL. THING. Once upon a time, some marketer noticed that a lot of people took the day after Thanksgiving off, and since they were sitting around bored out of their minds (because there was no Netflix yet), they went to the local mall. Then things got more and more out of hand, until somehow we arrived at BLACK FRIDAY. Black Friday takes a low-key, noncommercial holiday and turns it yet another opportunity for shopping, spending money, and acquiring even more stuff. America!
2. It contributes to “Christmas creep.”
“Christmas creep” is not your sketchy uncle who drinks too much eggnog and starts to act weird on Christmas Eve. It’s the way the Christmas season starts earlier and earlier each year and takes over more and more places. I don’t need to celebrate Christmas for a month and a half. I can’t step into a store between now and January without being subjected to Christmas music. The worst part is, the stores only seem to play the same half-dozen Christmas songs over and over. At least have some variety! And does it have to be everywhere? I’m not stopping into the drugstore for a festive time; I just need toothpaste.
This year, I started seeing Christmas decorations and hearing Christmas music in October — before Halloween. So now we have HalloThanksChristmas? Let each holiday be its own holiday. There’s no need to make Thanksgiving and Christmas one big holiday, tied together thanks to Black Friday.
3. I don’t have the time, the stamina, the right mindset, or the willingness to change out of pajamas for this nonsense.
Who has the time to spend sitting in traffic and waiting on long lines? I don’t. I also can’t help but think about the poor retail workers who are forced to work at the crack of dawn the day after Thanksgiving, or even worse, on Thanksgiving — the day that’s supposed to be devoted to being thankful and spending time with your family. Nothing says “gratitude” like knocking someone else down (an occurrence that is inevitably reported year after year on Black Friday) to save $50 on a flat-screen TV.
I also don’t see the point of it when I can simply log on to any number of websites while still in my pajamas and find the same items for probably the same price. And those great deals at big stores? They tend to sell out quickly; plus, a lot of them aren’t even real! The merchandise is either similarly discounted throughout the year, or it’s inferior in quality.
4. I know I’ll be in a food coma… or worse.
Thanksgiving is all about the food. Unfortunately, it’s also a nightmare for people with digestive issues. I’m severely lactose intolerant, and most Thanksgiving side dishes and desserts are full of butter, milk, and cream (I once went to a Thanksgiving dinner at a house that kept kosher, and I loved it, because so many dishes were dairy-free. I may be in the minority here, but I’d also be delighted to attend a vegan Thanksgiving). So usually, the day after Thanksgiving, I’m having terrible digestive issues and have to spend most of the day in close proximity to a toilet. And yes, stores have toilets, but the one in my house is clean, stocked with toilet paper, free of graffiti, and there’s no line to use it.
So you can take your Black Friday deals and keep them. I’ll be at home — on my toilet, listening to Prince, with my smartphone in my hands, ordering my holiday gifts online. (But if you’re the recipient of one of my holiday gifts, please ignore what I just said about being on the toilet).
This essay was written by Janine Annett, who lives in New York in a house full of piles of books, with her husband, son, dog, and very old cat. Her writing has appeared in places like The New York Times, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, SheKnows, the Establishment, and more. Visit her website.