Black Thursday or Black Friday?

The Thanksgiving holidays are coming. Some of us will be lucky enough to come together with our families and loved ones and relax in a rare moment free from work. How often do we get a day off to eat good food, spend quality time with others? But even allowing us to enjoy this one day is too much for the bosses.

In past years the big retail stores came up with the idea of Black Friday, trying to get people to rush to shop the day after Thanksgiving to buy gifts for the upcoming holiday season. Last year they even opened some stores at midnight on Thursday, Thanksgiving day. This year, in their attempt to draw in even more shoppers, many big name stores plan to open their doors even earlier – some as early as 7:00 AM on Thursday.

This means some workers will be ripped away from their families on Thanksgiving day to work in the stores. And other workers will either leave Thanksgiving dinner early or skip it altogether to try and get to the stores when they first open.

This year’s shopping ritual shows the insanity of this economic system. Millions of people across the country have been evicted and become homeless. Tens of millions of us are unemployed having been fired or laid off from our jobs or never could find a job. Millions more are working part time because that is all that is available. And most workers are more broke than ever.  Most of us are making less money and doing more work. So, if overtime is available, people work extra hours to make ends meet or to get ready for the holidays. We’re spending more time at work, and away from our families. We’re more stressed out. And we’re spending more on basic necessities. If there is one thing we don’t need to do it is even more shopping!

We are supposed to think that the cure for all that is bothering us is to buy more things, Since we don’t have enough time to spend with our loved ones – we’re supposed to show our love with presents. Since we’re so stressed out, we’re encouraged to buy ourselves gifts to make us feel better. And if we can’t afford to buy love and happiness, then we’re supposed to rely on the credit card and go further into debt. And if we are unwilling to do this – then we are supposed to feel that there is something wrong with us.

And who benefits from this kind of sick logic? The very same banks and corporations that are making record profits off of us in the first place. First they take our money by exploiting and overworking us. Then they take more of our money by convincing us to buy products we don’t need.

Black Friday is a symptom of a really sick and dysfunctional system. It is a system organized for the profits and benefit of the few at the expense of the majority. Their profits come at the cost of our health, our families, our relationships, our sanity, and our lives. Thanksgiving should be a day off, a day of rest, a day together – not a day to make the bosses even richer at our expense.