Friday, November 25, 2011

Making Black Friday Less Bleak

For most people who have to (or even want to) go somewhere for one reason or another, today is hellish. Those who have been debating, I advise you to just stay home today.

Some people are lucky enough to have all of Thanksgiving weekend off. Congratulations - you likely have human working hours, or at least jumped the gun soon enough to be one of your store's two employees with Black Friday off. Huzzah for you!

The rest of us are not so lucky. Some are back at the office after a single day to stuff their faces and express thankful thoughts. Many others are back in their stores, after a day (or even less) of pretending to be thankful for something, rather than apprehensive about the dark cloud on the horizon. Others yet didn't even get a single day's respite from the rat race, working through Turkey Day and missing out on the big family dinner.

I know that at this point, it's ridiculous of me to ask that you not go shopping, if you have your heart set on it. By all means, then, go. I truly hope it is worth it for you. But I do ask one small favor of you, as you head out into the consumerist mass that literally kills on occasion.

Remember that everyone around you is human.

Everyone around you today is probably tired, and cranky, and just wants to get this out of the way and go home. The other customers (if you're shopping) are trying to find perfect gifts under the enormous pressure of hourly sales and others racing for the same thing before it's sold out. If someone is unnecessarily rude toward you, take a deep breath, remember that you don't know what they're going through right now, and be extra-kind toward them, rather than letting the rudeness and anger compound.

Remember, shoppers, that those working the registers are not computers themselves. They cannot remember everything about the store. They may not know if there are any Wiis left, or the exact number of dollars you're saving on that armchair. They feel pain. Be nice.

Your fellow employees (if you're working) are probably about as excited for this day as you are. Some of you, by the time I post this, will have already finished an eight-hour shift, having started work at 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving, or at midnight. Maybe you've worked eight hours and have four more to go.

Be a shoulder for your coworkers to lean on. Remember that you don't know exactly why a customer decided to blow up at you over a one dollar price difference. They may have a loved one in the hospital, or maybe another customer was rude to them. Take a deep breath, be sympathetic, and try to be a hassle-free interaction (or at least share a smile).

This day exists, and we can't wipe it off the map right now. Let's make today as positive as we can, because we're all in this sinking boat together.

Next year, we'll organize a Black Friday strike.

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