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Inside Beat

Ex-retail worker explains why Black Friday is not it

For many Americans, Black Friday is a day to splurge on presents for the upcoming holiday season. But with the rising coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, consumers may want to reconsider shopping this weekend.  – Photo by Freepik

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (Princeton, New Jersey), many moons ago, I was a sales representative at a retail store.

I was fresh out of high school when my bushy-tailed self landed a career in retail. And eventually, I got promoted to manager. You would think this would be a good thing, but when I got promoted, I ran out so fast and never looked back.

Between knowing the ins and outs of working at a retail store and hearing all the horror stories of being a retail manager, there was no way I was going to have such a stressful career, especially one that requires working on Black Friday.

Black Friday is an annual holiday that is much more stressful than Christmas. Every. Single. Year. Seriously, I pity those who work in retail. Holiday rush can be stressful, but Black Friday rush? I can’t even imagine

You get to the stores, with lines miles and miles long, for s*** that you don’t even need, and on top of that, there's massive chaos at peak times. I for one almost clocked a girl to get the last sweater on the rack at Hot Topic.

Whoever said money can’t buy happiness is a total dud. Black Friday is American consumerism at its finest. People blacking out, nearly getting trampled, showing up to stores at god forsaken hours of the morning, and for what? A video game that hasn’t even been released? A computer that you can buy online? I for one am not going Black Friday this year. 

Here are three reasons why you should join me and not go Black Friday shopping this year either: 


I understand that people are done with quarantine, but numbers are increasing by the day and it’s only going to get worse, so much so that Times Magazine is calling the upcoming season “The COVID winter.” 

I, too, want to get out of the house, but it's just not safe, especially in enclosed malls. Even with all the precautions, it's nearly impossible to be standing six feet apart inside of a packed store.

In the few times I've been to the mall during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, it felt so claustrophobic in stores, I could almost feel the sweat on the person next to me in line. But even with the pandemic, impulse buyers will be sure to flood stores for an eyeshadow palette that suddenly became $5. 

And let's not forget about the nightmare that is the mall food court. Between the massive lines and carelessness of people who haven't been taking the disease seriously, the food court is going to be packed with people sitting down with their masks off, eating away while jabbering about the awesome new deal they got.

Black Friday deals aren’t even that great

I know everyone is itching to go buy something for their loved ones for the holidays. But think about it: Black Friday always comes back at the end of the year or around Christmas. And it comes early. I’ve already been getting emails from Hot Topic and Macy’s saying everything is “up to 50 percent off," but those same deals are also online.

There's just no reason for you to head out to those crazy ass long lines and nearly dying trying to get the new PS5, when you can easily buy it online.

Black Friday deals are just a way to get you to act on impulse –– and yes –– it has gotten to me too. Retailers lure you in with their conniving plans to coerce you into buying their “once in a lifetime” products. When really, once it gets out of date, it will just go back on sale. 

When working in retail, there’s a lot you learn

Companies ultimately use the holiday season to maximize profit. I had a friend that worked at Ross Dress for Less, and she stated that the company benefited from the holiday season. These so-called deals were not designed for our benefit. Companies don’t care about the sob story of being a single mom, wanting to make Christmas the most magical time of the year, no, no, no.

Stores are looking for ways to help you part ways with your money, and companies aim to profit by preying on people’s loneliness.

And that, my dear friends, is American consumerism at its finest. The sale got you in the door, but the deal was not a deal at all. 

There are so many reasons more that I can count for you, but I want to suggest something personally to you as someone who worked in retail: If it's worth buying on Black Friday, then it's definitely worth buying in January.

If you're keen on going out but want to stay safe, go for a walk while you still can. The weather is still nice, and it feels good to be able to go for a run or on a walk with my grandma.

You could also try to take class outside. It's a great way to get some fresh air and a change of pace, and you can even pour yourself a nice cup of coffee or hot chocolate to keep warm.

Spend some time with the family. Save some money. Be safe and warm, rather than being trampled and knocked out. Avoid those hospital bills. Don't succumb to American consumerism –– it's just not worth it. 

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