I do not support Black Thursday.
I am not a retail worker. I have never experienced the insanity of Black Friday — or its sibling, Black Thursday — from an employee’s point of view. I do, however, hear horror stories from friends and family who have survived: endless reorganizing, crazy customers, and the agony of mandatory ten- to twelve-hour shifts. Now, with stores open on Thursday too, employees must choose between Thanksgiving dinner and their jobs.
There’s something ironic about trampling each other for material goods on a day reserved for gratitude.
Sacrificing a holiday to shop doesn’t appeal to me. Doing so supports a reckless consumerism that I can’t connect with, thanks to my minimalist streak. In college, I realized I had a few favorite outfits but wore the rest once or twice before relegating them to oblivion at the bottom of my drawer. To remedy this, I implemented a new system: when an item caught my eye at a store, I asked myself if it was worth however many hours it would take to earn that money. Did I love the item, or just like it?
Using this method, I cut my spending. Instead of buying five shirts that I liked, I’d purchase one that I loved.
This is one of minimalism’s many forms. Some people keep fewer than 100 possessions. Others refuse to own houses or cars. For me, minimalism means buying what I want, not what ads or sales tell me to want. That’s why I’ll spend $100+ to add rhinestones to my ballroom dance dress but can’t buy into the turkey-free, Black Thursday mania: it doesn’t make sense to me. As a recovering hoarder, I fight a personal battle against compulsiveness. Shopping on Thanksgiving supports excessive consumerism — which, in its mindlessness, mirrors those overwhelming compulsions: we have to shop on Thanksgiving because we need what’s on sale; waiting until Friday risks missing out. Black Thursday sales create a false sense of urgency. We don’t actually need those items, but stores want us to think we do. When we don’t question our spending impulses, those companies control our wallets.
And if we don’t question when we shop, and what employees sacrifice to work on days like Thanksgiving, businesses control us in another way, too. Companies make their employees workers first and people second with mandatory Thanksgiving shifts. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I am more than my job. I will not be shopping on Thanksgiving. Everyone deserves a day off.