Tracker Pixel for Entry

Your dignity is worth more than a black Friday discount

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Say Anything | November 24th, 2015

“It’s become a Thanksgiving holiday tradition,” a colleague told me recently. “We eat the turkey, and then we watch videos of people being trampled at Black Friday sales on YouTube.”

That’s about the gist of it. The holiday shopping phenomena which has good people, otherwise upstanding and model citizens, throwing aside their dignity to stampede and fistfight over discounted merchandise and should serve as a mark of national shame.

Indeed, retailers who once upon a time gleefully stoked the fires of rabid consumerism with “doorbuster” sales - which in some cases were actually beginning on the Thanksgiving holiday - are now sanctimoniously eschewing the whole ordeal.

But let’s face it. The problem was never really the retailers. The problem is us. We the people. Retailers can advertise all the wild deals they want, but there are no shopping riots without a lot of people choosing to show up and lose their minds over half-priced toaster ovens or something.

Those shoppers could choose to stay home. They could choose to do their shopping on another day, or in another venue. Heck, they could choose not to let a dispute over cheap consumer electronics come to blows.

They don’t. Which is why efforts to solve the “Black Friday” problem with legislation are misguided.

Though there was an attempt to do just that here in North Dakota earlier this year. The Legislature considered SB2208 which would, if passed, have prohibited any lease agreement from including a provision that stores open on Thanksgiving or Christmas.

It was introduced by state Senator Dave Oehlke, a Republican from Devils Lake, and the intent was to try and keep holiday shopping in a box by stopping shopping malls and the like from forcing stores to abide by expanded Black Friday hours.

Shopping malls, after all, want all of their stores to be open when the mall is open.

The legislation passed in the state Senate on a 27-19 vote, but ultimately failed in the House 22-66. That was the right outcome. The government doesn’t need to get between negotiations between commercial tenants and landlords, and generally the marketplace should dictate business hours not bureaucrats and politicians.

Which brings us back to the “Black Friday” problem. This phenomena only exists because the public seems to want it. They keep showing up for it.

I can’t imagine why. But it takes all sorts, I suppose. Some people like to watch baseball, other people like to do battle over cheap snow blowers.

But here’s the thing: It’s all voluntary. You don’t have to participate. If Black Friday disgusts you, then stay home and do your shopping at a more reasonable time.

“What about the workers,” you’ll ask me. Well, what about them? I can understand not wanting to work grueling holiday shopping hours. I’ve worked retail. It’s not fun. But lots of people have to work on holidays. First responders don’t get the day off. The hospitality industry - the bars and restaurants and hotels - all work similarly tough holiday hours.

Airline pilots and cab drivers and energy industry workers all stay on the job, not to mention the men and women in the military. Why should retail workers be singled out for our sympathy?

And, hey, if they don’t like the hours they should work on moving their careers in a different direction.

Anyway, the solution for Black Friday is to ignore it. Perhaps not a gratifying solution for the social media populists demanding action, but an effective one none the less.

If you stay home on Black Friday your chances of getting trampled, or squaring off with a grandmother over the last blender on the shelf, drop to zero.

RECENTLY IN

Say Anything

Tracker Pixel for Entry Aaland Law Firm

Recently in:

cshagen@hpr1.comBISMARCK - One day after law enforcement cleared the “Treaty Camp” on October 27, 2016, hundreds of activists defending Native American treaty rights, water rights, and land rights, lined up north of three…

Culture

Millennial

by James Osborne

We all know that labels can lead to some unfair and incorrect conclusions. Is it a coincidence that the generation that everyone loves to hate has been given the most faceless and disaffectionate of all the generational labels?…

Friday, June 23, 6pm till lateSidestreet Grill, 404 4th Ave N, FargoThe best way to spend Friday evening, hipping and hopping in Sidestreet’s parking lot with Kipp G, Circle of Heat, and for the first time in several months, D…

Albert Einstein once said, “The revolution introduced me to art, and in turn, art introduced me to the revolution.”This past Sunday marked the 58th year of the Rourke’s Great Midwestern. Though Jim O’Rourke, founder of the…

From Homer’s Odyssey to Buddy Holly: The times they are a-changin’When Robert Zimmerman, born in Duluth and raised in Hibbing, better known as Bob Dylan, won the Nobel Prize for Literature (worth almost a cool $1 million), he…

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung…

On a sultry Thursday night, I sauntered into Luna. Situated on South University next to Bernie’s Beer and Wine, it isn’t exactly a hole in the wall, but it is certainly off the beaten path, and as described by their motto it is…

Pursuing a hobby, much less a career in music is more difficult than just picking up an instrument. Though the passion may be there, the cost of equipment and lessons can be prohibitive.Of course this is something that…

A couple of classic courtroom dramas and a romantic melodrama about theatrical ambition, all adapted from popular novels of their day, are among the recently released Blu-rays by Kino-Lorber. All were made by major filmmakers with…

“I was devastated, scared, and lost. My family’s world changed and our relationships with one another changed too.” said Lonna Whiting.Whiting, co-founder of Brains on the Plains, went on. “In addition to a dramatic shift…

Author, professor, historian and now playwright: Dr. Charlie Barber has taken his love of history to the stage with his new musical, “No Backseat Driver.”Barber’s play is the story of two North Dakota heroes: “Wild Bill”…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Here in the upper midwest we love the summer season for so many different reasons but two of the big reasons I love summer are fresh produce and being outside with a beer in my hand. Sometimes, when I’m spending the day in the…

Wellness

​Natural sleep aids

by Erin Oberlander

As I interact with clients and friends and family alike, one of the issues that comes up commonly is that of sleep. It seems that in our modern world, getting deep, nourishing sleep has become a challenge for some and a complete…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

The North Dakota Department of Health has called “Bullsh*t!” on Meridian Energy’s application to construct its Davis Oil Refinery three miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park.In fact, in a strongly-worded letter to…