Black Friday Wal-Mart Strikes

I’m going to assume anyone who actually shops today is someone I don’t want to know. But in any case, you should be following the Black Friday Wal-Mart strikes, the largest organized labor action in the history of the company. Josh Eidelson’s blog at The Nation is the best place for all the latest information.

147 comments on this post.
  1. Murc:

    I’ve been known to shop on Black Friday. Hell, back in the day I used to work on Black Friday.

    I don’t understand what the big deal is. I won’t show up at midnight or godawful o’clock for doorbusters, that’s a matter of principle. But going out at a normal time of day?

    You park further from the door than usual, and there are big huge crowds. And… that’s it. You buy your whatever and go home. There’s some extra time involved, but the discounts can be worth it, especially for things you were going to buy anyway.

    I do have a tradition of going to the store I used to work at (an Electronics Boutique that is now a Gamestop) and taking a drink outside of it. That’s always sort of fun, if a bit macabre.

  2. Rob:

    Well if there is a retail place worse to work at than Wal-Mart, it is Gamestop. “Would you like to buy a Game Informer subscritpion with your melanchiolic drink?”

  3. Bob:

    Jesus dude, get over yourself. I’ve never gone shopping on Black Friday because that’s the choice I’ve made for myself. I find it hard to see people who chose to do so as being somehow unworthy of my friendship.

  4. Sherm:

    The problem is that “Black Friday” represents a celebration of consumerism — a pseudo-holiday celebrating one of the most disgusting aspects of our culture and involves retailers using economic desperation to take advantage of unwitting people searching for bargains which do not exist in an effort to make sure that they can purchase for their family members everything which they have learned from watching television that they must in order to find happiness.

  5. Barry Freed:

    Dude, don’t hate on me because I had the bad luck to have my 7-year old TV break the other week just after I moved into this new apartment and got the cable hooked up and today was actually the only day I’d be able to buy a new one. It’s the only time I’ve ever gone shopping on Black Friday and may it be the last (though it was pretty painless, no lines,and no, not Wal-Mart).

  6. c u n d gulag:

    The only day worse for workers than Black Friday, is the day after Christmas, when people return half or more of the sh*t they bought.

    Back in the late 70′s, I was working in Customer Service at Sears, and there was this woman who wanted to return a couple of shirts.
    When I told her I couldn’t give her her money back, and she started screaming at me.
    I said, “I’m sorry Ma’am, but you couldn’t have bought them here.”
    She screamed that yes, she had! And who was I to tell her that she didn’t!! How dare I!!!
    I said, “Ma’am, Sears sells many, many things. But one thing we don’t sell, is shirts with a JC Penny label on them.”

    She kept screaming, and my Manager told me to just give her some money, just to shut her the feck up!
    And so, this witch got some money back.

    Having worker in retail, I don’t go to department stores unless I have absolutely, positively, no choice in the matter. And now, with internet shopping, I don’t see any reason why I should.

    I don’t care how great the deal is, it isn’t worth it when you’re sorrounded by knuckle-dragging, drooling, moronic shoppers, ready to fight over the last doll or HDTV.

  7. Brien Jackson:

    I’m fairly certain that offering discounted prices on things people want to buy, no matter how unnecessary they are at the end of the day, is not actually any sort of horrible thing we ought to be shunning outside of circles comprised of the most annoying anti-materialists. The practice of not actually having the things you’re offering a discount on in stock, and therefore not actually giving people the deals you’re advertising, is of course another matter entirely.

  8. Dana Houle:

    I would never want to shop on the day after Thanksgiving (which I continue to call it), and I was kind of appalled when I drove by a Best Buy yesterday at noon and say people camped out waiting to get in the store. And a lot of people are just idiots about shopping and materialism. But some of those people camped out, while their values aren’t quite mine in terms of the importance of buying things, are probably driven by love and generosity in wanting to get nice gifts for their loved ones, combined with some economic insecurity or want demonstrated by their sacrifice of sitting on a sidewalk so they can maximize their limited funds.

    Again, not for me, and some of those people are just nitwits. But some, I’m sure, are there because they’re hurting and are making a sacrifice.

  9. Linnaeus:

    Yeah, what shopping has become the day after Thanksgiving isn’t a problem in of itself – it’s indicative of a larger problem. It’s not my thing, but I do know people who do it for various reasons. Often it’s because they don’t have time otherwise. Again, indicative of a larger problem.

  10. Observer:

    You’re correct, Sir.

    It sounds like the Solution for Erik is to start promoting Blue Laws again, because what they accomplished is exactly what this poster wants.

    And I’m kinda OK with that on one hand and not OK on the other. I, too, would like a day of rest where everything is not so commercial. But then again, I’m loathe to tell store owners when they can sell stuff and when they can’t. It just doesn’t sound very “freedomy”.

  11. Dana Houle:

    I do, however, like the idea of telling retailers there are a couple days a year where they can’t force their employees to work. Retail isn’t like a hospital or even a gas station or 24 pharmacy, where some people are going to need your service. Nobody needs to shop for gifts on Thanksgiving.

  12. redrob64:

    I’m going to assume anyone who actually shops today is someone I don’t want to know.

    Wow, all the preening self-regard and obnoxious self-righteousness of Eric Dondero without the entertaining psychosis.

  13. Leeds man:

    But…but…didn’t people have to shop after 9/11? Wasn’t that the patriotic thing to do?

  14. Hogan:

    You know, that’s just the kind of shackles on job creators that have made Germany such an economic basket case.

  15. thusbloggedanderson:

    How about someone who *blogs* on Black Friday? WTF is wrong with HIM?

  16. JL:

    Well, there’s also the treatment of retail workers on Black Friday, both by their companies and by the customers.

    Not that retail workers are treated wonderfully in general, but Black Friday can get pretty gross in that regard.

  17. N__B:

    Only if one bought Spanish fly, French ticklers, or a Maserati.

  18. Leeds man:

    The only thing worse than a Black Friday blogger is a Black Friday commenter. Scum of the earth, the lot of ‘em.

  19. thusbloggedanderson:

    Yep. Exterminate the brutes!

  20. allium:

    In my defense, “once a philosopher, twice a pervert.”

  21. Bob:

    And who makes the call as to what counts as a day when merchants must close? Do the Christers get to prevent me from my Christmas night tradition of going to a club to hear live music? Birth of JC means nothing to me – if he’s your sky God more power to you, but please don’t insist on my observing your supernatural belief alongside you.
    And allow me to point out the rather obvious fact that store owners don’t make employees work on Black Friday out of spite – they do it because “we the people” have spoken pretty loudly about how we intend to spend Black Friday. And no, I am not one of those who goes out on Black Friday – but tens of millions do.

  22. Substance McGravitas:

    You guys probably like Janis Joplin or something.

  23. thebewilderness:

    I have nothing by sympathy and compassion for people who so desperately want to avoid a baby go bye bye experience that they are willing to get up at the crack of dawn to get that one thing their child so desperately wants. We call it the baby go bye bye experience in my family because that is the toy, the only toy that was wanted and was not to be found anywhere at any price.
    These days people can go on eBay and pay four times as much for the one and only toy, if they can afford it.
    I know those people. I like those people. They are part of the reason I do not shop anywhere on weekends, or at getting off work time, if I can avoid it. Life is enough of a struggle for them. We need not make it more difficult.
    Nor do we need to share in the corporate medias contempt for them.

  24. GeoX:

    I try not to get mad at people who go shopping on black friday; they’re just caught up in a malign system. What I DO get very mad indeed at is retailers, however, and this year that seems to have reached a pinnacle, what with stores opening at eight o’clock on Thanksgiving. The owners of these stores are obscenely rich in any case, and are just getting richer today. But is that sufficient? OH NO INDEED. Rather, they have to warp the entire fabric of society, forcible injecting commerce into every part of it, for no reason other than to make a buck or two. That right there is the black, pulsating heart of capitalism.

  25. Sherm:

    But that seems to be the norm Brien. The retailers create a frenzy by offering discounted items in limited supply and then pull the old bait and switch on the poor bastards desperately looking for holiday bargains. And lets not forget the abuse of the non-union and underpaid workers in the retail sector. It’s a disgusting display in numerous respects.

  26. Sherm:

    Well said.

  27. thusbloggedanderson:

    I love that story.

  28. Hogan:

    Or, like me, a dozen keffiyehs.

  29. S_noe:

    True dat, except the owners are generally stockholders, right? Demanding increasing sales year after year. And many retailers are in precarious positions, increasing their desperate behavior. I liken it to a loser at the roulette table, doubling his bet each time he loses.

    (Trying to explain the sociopathy a tad, not excuse it.)

    Ps: I went out and bought my dad some shoelaces today, and I would hate to think I lost any friends thereby. A lot of people shop today because it’s an extra day off, hence a chance to run errands – no other reason.

  30. N__B:

    One for each day of the week! Of course.

  31. Malaclypse:

    Or me, who got the phone call that his special order of this arrived at the bookstore on September 12, 2001.

  32. Dana Houle:

    Yes, you and the merchants are oppressed.

  33. Manju:

    No Black Friday for me either…just a Vodka Martini and some Whitney.

  34. sparks:

    I did some grocery shopping along with picking up a prescription. There were maybe 20 people inside the supermarket, when there’s usually four times as many other days at that time.

  35. Keaaukane:

    Back in my Public Defender days I always liked to set trials on Black Friday. The offers of the State always grew better when they realized that they would have to work, be sober, and their witnesses weren’t likely to show up anyway.

  36. Erik Loomis:

    My self-regard is one of my finest characteristics.

  37. Hogan:

    See, if you’d said Jewel you might have gotten a reaction.

  38. Njorl:

    Is that Arab slang for a condom? Ya gotta put the keffiya on little Omar?

  39. Manju:

    I’m saving her for the Columbus Day Jello shots.

  40. SeanH:

    Omar comin’!

  41. GeoX:

    “we the people” have spoken pretty loudly about how we intend to spend Black Friday

    Bullshit. “We the people” haven’t chosen anything. Retailers have realized that, given the nature of our society, they are able to manipulate people into ordering their entire lives around consumerism. This is just one of the most egregious manifestations of that.

  42. Ed:

    I’m going to assume anyone who actually shops today is someone I don’t want to know.

    I’m all for the lower orders, except for their deplorable shopping habits, desperately scrambling for bargains. Love me, I’m a liberal.

    Not that it’s my favorite day of the year. I’m sorry to see retail employees losing more and more of their holiday to mandatory underpaid overtime and the bizarre cheeriness of the TV newspersons – grinning broadly and pretending this consumer culture nightmare is all good clean fun (that is, unless someone has been stampeded or mugged, which calls for a slight frown).

    As noted above, it’s not a bad day to go grocery shopping, assuming you didn’t have to brave the pre-Thansgiving crowds there.

  43. tool:

    go fuck yourself

    you would think anyone concerned with the digital divide would not be such an ass regarding one of the few times a year, the poor and working class families might be able to pick up a computer or smart phone for a bargain price.

    you wouldn’t want to know those people even if they were not out shopping today.

  44. wengler:

    Black Friday is just people worshiping their one and only true religion.

    I’m not a heretic since I get new stuff and there is a feeling of enjoyment initially when you get new stuff. Hell I got a HDMI cable in the mail today and felt happy about it. I’m just not going to sublimate myself before the altar of the state religion and proclaim my allegiance.

    To the lions I go.

  45. Observer:

    Ummmm…..yeah…that

    Growth slowed to 0.2 percent in the third quarter from 0.3 percent in the second, data showed on Friday.

    This is not the first time you’ve tried to say Germany is simply better.

    You should move there.

  46. Malaclypse:

    Growth slowed to 0.2 percent in the third quarter from 0.3 percent in the second, data showed on Friday.

    Jenny, Jenny – Europe doesn’t annualize quarterly statistics they way that we do.

    Now hush, little moron – grownups are trying to have a conversation, and you don’t seem capable of understanding, well, anything.

  47. Leeds man:

    Bingo. Manufacturing consumption. I’m firmly anti death penalty, but the Madison Avenue fuckheads who consider children fair game, and the psychologists supporting them, tempt my scruples sorely.

  48. N__B:

    I really like her, but not in that way.

  49. Linnaeus:

    Beat me to it. Yes, consumer demand is part of the cause, but the owners of the means of retail exert strong influence over how, where, when, etc. that retail is conducted. It’s not contemptuous of the consumer to point that out.

  50. Observer:

    Here’s what this maroon didn’t seem to see in the article.

    (Reuters) – German growth will slow further in the fourth quarter of this year and the economy could even end the year with a contraction, Ifo economist Klaus Wohlrabe told Reuters on Friday.

    Maroon ain’t just the color purple anymore…

  51. Dr.KennethNoisewater:

    I’m going to assume anyone who actually shops today is someone I don’t want to know.

    Wow.

  52. Observer:

    I don’t understand what the big deal is.

    Me neither.

    These people act like this Friday is some holy day of something. It’s not a religious holiday. It’s not a federal holiday. It’s just another Friday.

    They call workers “oppressed” because they’re asked to work on Friday. Ya’ know, work when the shoppers are actually out buying.

    I worked Friday. The Post Office and the IRS are open for God’s sake. What’s so frikkin’ special about this Friday??

    Get over yourselves! What a load of succotash!!

  53. Dr.KennethNoisewater:

    I found out my SIL–who seems like a lovely person to me–was shopping ’til two this morning.

    Yeah. It’s not my thing either. But there are a lot of people struggling out there who enjoy getting good holiday deals so they can treat their loved ones. I imagine most of these folks aren’t loaded. So hatin’ on them seems…shitty to me.

  54. Anonymous:

    Yes, thank heaven the US hasn’t recently suffered from slow or even negative growth. It’s no wonder all those undocumented Germans are flocking to our shores.

  55. UserGoogol:

    Gosh darn it, am I the only liberal here trying to subvert family values and promote a godless hedonistic lifestyle? If commercial activities are totally shut down on holidays, then that severely limits the options of people who don’t really want to spend the holiday with loved ones. And although “consumerism” is very often directed towards wasteful spending, consumption of goods (including luxuries) is an important part of life. Because of the godless hedonism, and all that. Much pleasure is caused by things you have to pay money to acquire, and that’s not consumerism, sometimes things are just plain fun.

    (This isn’t really a direct response to Eric’s post, which didn’t actually make the argument I’m responding to.)

  56. Murc:

    They call workers “oppressed” because they’re asked to work on Friday.

    Well, if you’re being told to come in at eight o’clock in the evening on Thanksgiving Day and work until five the next morning, do it or you’re fired, I’d characterize that as employers oppressing their employees.

  57. md rackham:

    You liberals with your War on Black Friday.

    What sacred holiday won’t you attack?

  58. Malaclypse:

    May Day.

  59. Anonymous:

    I should have called my sponsor. I know, I shoulda called – in fact, I was going to call my sponsor, I took out my phone, and I dialed, and I don’t know how I ended up talking to American Express about why they’d refused to let me charge my purchase. It turned out that I’d been caught by their stupid fraud alert system, who’d have thought that

    What? Oh, Sorry. My name is Mike and I’m a Black Friday shopper.

    But it was only one purchase, and it was online, so no actual retail employeed were harmed during the course of this purchase. It’s not like I had to drive anywhere.

    Oh. Sorry. Yes, I’m powerless to control my Black Friday shopping, that’s what I was just saying. One Black Friday at a time, I know, I know.

    I buy one stupid Ipod and now no respectablie liberal blogger will talk to me. I’ve lost everything I value in life, and what do I have in exchange? Thousands of downloadable songs, and movies, and

    Oh, sorry.

  60. sparks:

    I must have been brought up strangely, because I didn’t catch the mania. My parents taught me not to want things too much. And when I did want something, I got over it. I don’t remember getting excited over a toy much.

    Of course, one of my parents lived through the Depression, the other lived through Nazi occupation. That may have colored their thinking on the matter.

  61. Hogan:

    Saturnalia, Brumalia, the Feast of Fools, National Day of Slayer, and Walpurgisnacht, for starters.

  62. Chad:

    What else would you expect a heart to do? Fibrillate? :(

  63. anonymous:

    The bait and switch is of course exactly the point.

  64. Chad:

    SUBLIMATE??? Subordinate, maybe ????

  65. Chad:

    Ah, yes, roast goose for Walpurgisnacht!!!!

  66. anonymous:

    Did you actually save any money buying that Ipod, or did you end up buying something it because the few unbelievable bargains came for disappeared in a minute? Because that’s how it works, you know. None of these retailers open up at 10 pm on Thanksgiving to see how much money they lose.

  67. Hogan:

    [adds to list]

  68. Chad:

    But, no shoppinbg orgies. Not in the ritual.

  69. Chad:

    or, “shopping”

  70. Observer:

    Good thing that loser has minions like you to step in for him when he’s been served.

    Saves him the embarrassment.

    You’re a good friend

  71. timb:

    So few of these people in my family are buying ANYTHING for anyone else, it’s sad. These are all purchases for themselves

  72. laura:

    I would be completely in favor of making Black Friday a holiday. Holidays on thursdays are stupid for most people — you’re encouraged to start eating and drinking at 4 in the afternoon, go til late and then be at work early next morning???

    But that’s completely a civics question. Lobby for a 5-day Thanksgiving weekend. The US doesn’t have *enough* statutory holidays. Blaming it it on shoppers who shouldn’t oppress the retail workers is stupid. There are lots of people who want to work on Black Friday and lots of people who want to shop. Making it so workers have the flex time so they can opt not to not work on a holiday, or receive holiday pay for that day, would help match those who want to shop with those who want to work while helping those who want to drink on thanksgiving and sleep in the next day.

  73. timb:

    bullcrap. Everyone I saw was a suburban Republican in an SUV.

  74. laura:

    ha, not good at arithmetic on friday nights. 4-day thanksgiving weekend.

  75. timb:

    Thanksgiving?

  76. laura:

    Maybe, but statistically speaking those SUV drivers have loads of consumer debt and hurting too. And you don’t know for sure how they vote.

  77. elk:

    No, I think he means he is going to turn directly from a solid to a gas.

  78. Chad:

    Walmart will do that to you…

  79. Joey Maloney:

    I was so hoping “National Day of Slayer” was Buffy-related, but no.

    And with autoplay noise, to boot. Thanks so much.

  80. Walt:

    You think that Germany’s economy is slowing down because of the shackles on job creation? Then how did German unemployment get to be under 6%? Magic?

  81. Linnaeus:

    Like casinos.

  82. out of towners:

    That is generally who you see when you live in Republican suburbs. Unless of course you work for the GOP and it is election season.

  83. Substance McGravitas:

    How can you not know about the National Day of Slayer? They’ve been playing the goddamned music in the malls for a month-and-a-half now. If I hear The Chipmunks again I will kill.

  84. RhZ:

    I suspect no one would be complaining about the poor workers if they had health insurance and a living wage.

  85. Informant:

    He said he bought it on-line.

  86. Sherm:

    Maybe a little double time for coming in on thanksgiving night.

  87. Observer:

    OK, so Friday’s over.

    How’d the strike against WalMart go?

  88. John:

    I don’t think anyone objects to making workers work on Black Friday (perhaps Loomis does, I guess). I think people largely object to making people working on Thanksgiving night.

  89. Malaclypse:

    At least as well as your valiant trolling.

  90. Book:

    I’m going to assume anyone who actually shops today is someone I don’t want to know.

    Because ordering from Amazon would be to fight the good fight:

    http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2017883596_amazonintro25.html

    http://www.mcall.com/news/local/amazon/mc-allentown-amazon-complaints-20110917,0,6503103.story

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/25/amazon-working-conditions-warehouses_n_1545599.html

    People buy cheap stuff, news at eleven. What isn’t news to everyone is that you are supporting some seriously shitty people by shopping in certain places.

    Let people make an informed decision.

    Knocking down the doors of B&M shops is one thing, but everyone can sit in the jammies and take advantage of Black Friday offers today. Which they will.

    You sound almost Greenwald-esque in your uncompromising attitude here. :)

  91. Joe Biden:

    I shopped at Wal-Mart yesterady and got a great deal on a flatscreen. Nothing pisses off liberals like good old fashioned capitalism, and Black Friday is a big celebration of unbridled, total, through-and-through capitalism from start to finish.

    As to Wal-Mart workers, nobody forces them to work there, they can always quit. If they don’t want to than they need to shut the fuck up and load my car.

  92. Anonymous:

    That was supposed to be anonymous. Stupid joke name.

  93. Malaclypse:

    JENBOB JENBOB JENBOB JENBOB JENBOB JENBOB.

    JENBOB!

  94. spencer:

    This, exactly. I used to be a pretty decent copywriter, but I knew I’d never have much of a career in advertising because I knew I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if my job involved doing … well, most of the shit you have to do to get a job on Madison Avenue.

    Economic activity is one thing. Unnecessary consumerism is something else entirely, something that carries a lot of negative side effects for both individual consumers and society at large.

  95. spencer:

    Perhaps, but I agree with timb’s call of “bullshit” on tool’s display of class consciousness there …

  96. spencer:

    That’s pretty awesome.

  97. Malaclypse:

    Yea, you are convincing as me. Because you is smart.

  98. Malaclypse:

    JENBOB JENBOB EVERYONE IS JENBOB!

  99. Anonymous:

    Hey Malaclypse, capitalism is here to stay forever. And it’s only going to get worse for Marxist fucks like you.

    Sorry, but the USSR isn’t coming back. Socialism is dead. And every Black Friday, you, Loomis, and other unreconstructed Marxists have your face rubbed in beautiful, beautiful, unrestrained CAPITALISM.

  100. Malaclypse:

    No, just you. And you leave a dumbprint that pretty much anybody can see.

    Keep fucking that chicken.

  101. Anonymous:

    A Marxist is calling me dumb?

    He Malaclypse was the day the USSR collapsed the saddest day of your life? Was the dream all over then?

  102. Malaclypse:

    A Marxist is calling me dumb?

    I’m sure bourgeois analysis would lead to the same conclusion. You don’t leave it much in doubt, after all.

    He [sic] Malaclypse was the day the USSR collapsed the saddest day of your life?

    No.

    Was the dream all over then?

    Not even close, Jennie.

    Was your dream over when Obamacare did not get overturned, like you said it would? Was your dream over when Romney got his pasty white ass handed to him, instead of winning, like you said he would? Is your dream dying, as you sad, angry white men see the inexorable demographic tide leaving you in the ashbin of history?

  103. Anonymous:

    If the USA keeps going down the road of Socialism, it won’t be worth saving anymore, that’s for sure. We will end up like Britain and France, just a third rate Socialist craphole that makes nothing.

  104. Dana Houle:

    Where did I “[Blame] it it on shoppers who shouldn’t oppress the retail workers?” It’s not the shoppers, it’s the retailers who see an opportunity to make a buck. Of course the shoppers have to be participants in this, but retailers could stay closed on Thanksgiving (and my casual reading yesterday suggests there weren’t actually all that many shoppers out on Thursday).

  105. Anonymous:

    Yeah, what would be so horrible about opening at 9AM on Sat? Would that really prevent these retailers from ripping people off with their obnoxious bait-and-switch ploys?

  106. mpowell:

    Yeah, but you could still do this if retailers were forced to pay overtime or holiday wages to their employees during those times.

  107. JL:

    The problem isn’t that they work on Friday, it’s that they’re treated like crap (more than usual even) by their bosses and customers). Also, what Murc said about the ones who are asked to work on Thanksgiving.

    There are zero people in this thread who are claiming that workers are oppressed because they had to work on Friday. The Wal-Mart strikes, as you’d know if you actually read up on them, are not happening because employees have to work on Black Friday. They’ve been happening for weeks, and expanded for Black Friday because the workers thought that was a tactically and strategically useful day to ramp it up.

  108. Anderson:

    OK, yeah, that’s weird.

  109. Anderson:

    So beautiful they call it “Black Friday.” Like those other holidays of unrestrained capitalism, Black Thursday, Black Tuesday ….

  110. Barry Freed:

    +1

  111. John Protevi:

    JenBob, don’t you know that you’ll never convince us with mere ALL-CAPS and bold? You need ALL-CAPS, bold, *and* italics, like this: PANCAKES!

  112. John Protevi:

    You know what must be really aggravating to JenBob? The fact that men with guns come to his door to take his money and give it to Marxist college professors, who probably think that ROI is the French word for “king.” That must be really aggravating.

  113. Hogan:

    That was me; lost my handle for a moment. But hey, good of you to admit you’ve run out of substantive arguments.

  114. Hogan:

    Britain and France, just a third rate Socialist craphole that makes nothing.

    Did you just happen to pick two countries with better trade balances than ours, or are you a parody troll?

  115. STH:

    Yep, either Observer is erecting a straw man or massively missing the point. Please re-read Sherm’s comments above, Observer, and help yourself to a clue.

  116. MAJeff:

    In order for Observer to recognize the ways that workers are oppressed, he would first have to recognize them as humans.

  117. Johnny Sack:

    Yeah, I gotta say, not much sympathy for the baby go bye-bye experience. My grandparents were products of the depression, and when I bitched about not getting what I wanted, they set me the fuck straight. If you need a computer and can’t afford it otherwise, that’s different.

  118. Johnny Sack:

    The LIBERAL WAR ON SHOPPING

  119. Johnny Sack:

    Hey! The negro is here for four more years! Obamacare is here to stay! Obama will replace RBG and the hairy Italian if he chokes on a canoli. SUCK. ON. IT.

  120. Hogan:

    It must be a strange and frightening world where one day a bunch of secession petitions prove that we’re heading toward socialist apocalypse and disunion, and the next day a bunch of people buying discounted merchandise proves that capitalism will be stamping its boot on our smiling grateful faces forever. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? (In my world, if it’s anything but November 25th I’m writing a nasty letter to the calendar company.)

  121. GeoX:

    Golly, my resigned assumption had always been that this was true; that capitalism was in permanent ascendancy. But now that Observer–who has been spectacularly, hilariously wrong about one hundred percent of its smug, vehement predictions–makes this claim, I can’t help thinking maybe it’s not so inevitable after all. Thank you, sir or madam. You give hope to us all.

  122. mcarson:

    The people who go shopping on Black Friday are usually poor mothers and grandmothers. Status in America is judged by your clothes and toys, and those that love their children want them to be able to come back to school after the holiday and have a good answer to the question “What did you get for Christmas?”
    I raised children while very poor, we managed to live in an area above our means due to an amazing buy on a distressed house during a severe downturn in the late 70′s. I still live in that house, and the neighborhood has steadily gone up in income, while mine has gone down. Keeping your kids in the game matters, they make friends with those who they play X-Box with. I’ve stood in line all night to get some damn game machine for $50 off, because that was the only way in hell I could buy it. My kids believed in Santa into the 5th grade, because they knew there was no way in hell their Mom could have bought a Nintendo. They spent their entire childhood ordering the dollar burger without ordering a soda or fries, and now in their late 20′s and early 30′s still order meals with water while out.
    There are people who shop as a sport, who enjoy it and get caught up in it, but for many of us it’s like those awful dancing contests during the depression, where couples would struggle to dance all night for some cash prize.
    I know people, especially male people, like to be smug and above it all and not prey to emotion. Take a minute and ask your Mom this Holiday what it was like for her to buy you school clothes and toys when you were young. I’ve never met a woman, even a wealthy woman, who didn’t find choosing the right thing for her child to be stressful. Even those with money had to struggle to find the right balance, not too much, not the Guess jeans, the Jordache ones. We equip our children for battle. We know much of what you have accomplished in your life is related to who your friends where and what you did in your spare time. Your Mom helped you fit in when you were a child. How did she do that? Be kind, let her tell you.

  123. thebewilderness:

    You don’t get it. When you are poor you only get one toy. You know you are poor so you only ask for an affordable toy. When you don’t get it it is not giant issue for you. For the parent it is a huge issue that becomes a family story that you hope never to repeat. Poor kids don’t “bitch about not getting what they wanted”. They are too busy pretending they didn’t really want it.

  124. thebewilderness:

    Yanno, the tradition of self righteously sneering at sale shoppers struggling for goods is as old as sale shopper struggling for goods.

  125. UserGoogol:

    Yeah, that seems like a fairly reasonable policy.

  126. UserGoogol:

    That was supposed to be a reply to mpowell, not myself.

  127. In the freezer:

    Yes indeed. You are one of the people that Eric casually dismissed that would otherwise fall on his side of the working class divide. He’s not clueless… Just careless and depresses due to a certain college football game.

  128. In the freezer:

    He depresses at the same time as he is depressed ;)

  129. Bob:

    @ Dana: Sorry if I confused you when I wrote “And no, I am not one of those who goes out on Black Friday” but what that means is I don’t shop on Black Friday, thus I am not claiming oppression. Glad I could clear that up for you.
    As for all of you who have added to my comment I am so impressed by your strength and towering intellects. Unlike the 226 million people who shopped on Black Friday YOU were the ones able to resist the manipulation and brainwashing that the meek and ignorant were so unable to withstand.
    Progressivism at its best: accuse the 73% of the population that does something you object to of being mindless, brainwashed and manipulated.
    As for me, I actually believe that the 73% of the population who went shopping on Black Friday are not mindless, brainwashed lemmings. But then again, I’m not a pretentious asshole who finds it impossible to believe an intelligent, informed citizen could make a different decision than the one I made for myself.

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  131. Observer:

    They’ve been happening for weeks, and expanded for Black Friday because the workers thought that was a tactically and strategically useful day to ramp it up.

    So, how’s the strike going?

  132. Linnaeus:

    If you’ll read my comment below, you’ll see that I don’t blame people for shopping on the day after Thanksgiving.

  133. GeoX:

    Sooo…the argument is that monolithic societal forces have no effect on people? That is, to put the kindest possible spin on it, a deeply naive, myopic viewpoint. You WOULD, however, be right at home with my freshman composition students who are always wanting to write some damn paper about how “advertising doesn’t work on ME.”

  134. ironic irony:

    i actually live here in Germany.

    It is better.

  135. djanglermust:

    That sounds like the sort of crazy giveaway that a unionist would advocate.

  136. Sherm:

    I had a union factory job one summer in college and got called in for overtime on labor day. 19 years old and making double time and a half for a 12 hour shift was pretty sweet. Classes were starting on Wednesday and my housemates were going to keg parties and bbqs, but there was no way in hell that I was going to turn down $28 per hour in 1987.

  137. Observer:

    A really GOOD friend

  138. Observer:

    Just watch your mouth in Germany.

    And don’t say anything politically incorrect about WW II, for God’s sake.

    And don’t say anything other than Germany was solely responsible for WW II.

    Don’t speculate about how many Jews were murdered unless it’s at least or more than the official 6 million figure or you will be arrested.

    Toe the official government line. Stay out of prison.

  139. Observer:

    Let’s talk about the strike. That’s the subject of Erik’s post

    How many employees were involved? I didn’t get to see the news.

    Were any stores shut down?

    Did management bend to the demand of the workers?

  140. wengler:

    I wish there was an edit function but it adds color.

  141. wengler:

    All that is solid melts into air…

  142. Observer:

    I do, however, like the idea of telling retailers there are a couple days a year where they can’t force their employees to work.

    Tnen you’re in favor of Blue Laws.

    Thanks for clearing that up. And it’s a legitimate position….just not one that I personally share.

  143. Bob:

    GeoX: I never said anything so simplistic. Of course merchants do everything within their power to get people to shop on Black Friday. And that makes Black Friday different from the other 364 days of the year how? Capitalism exerts enormous pressure to consume – I never argued otherwise. But that pressure is not the sole reason people shop. As for Black Friday consider a few scenarios.
    Two-income working poor family. Extended family visit for Thanksgiving thus making it possible for mom and/or dad to shop for Christmas gifts on BF while some other family member watches the kids.
    Tradition. Maybe initially it was due to societal pressure but after years of thinking of BF as a day to shop people now do it because it elicits pleasant memories of spending the day with now departed mom or dad.
    The fact that for so many people it is a rare day off and it falls near Christmas.
    Etc, etc, etc. I see nothing to condemn in any of that. Personal choices that are perfectly valid and defensible.

  144. GeoX:

    Ah, I see. So it must have been some OTHER “Bob” who claimed that retailers aren’t to blame; that people just gosh darn want to shop on this day, and the stores are only responding to the already-present, deeply-held desire of people to fight mobs on Thanksgiving evening.

  145. Bob:

    I’m terribly sorry if I failed to cover all possible nuances in a quick comment on a blog post. Yes, that 75% of the population chooses to shop on BF suggests to me that people choose to shop on BF. Of course merchants exert pressure, of course the media plays along and of course politicians contribute to the demand as well. But I still refuse to look down on the people who shop on BF and believe them something other than mindless fucking lemmings. There is NOTHING inherently contradictory about believing that A. Pressure can be exerted on people to do something that B. At least some significant percentage of the sample freely choose to do anyway.
    The NBA spends tens of millions of dollars annually exerting pressure on the general public to watch their games. I watch their games. Therefore I’ve been suckered into watching their games because of their pressure? No. I watch because I started playing basketball at the age of 5 and competitive ball at the age of 8. I stopped 4 years ago – at the age of 50 – because my knees finally gave out. I love and understand basketball and the NBA puts on the best basketball on the planet. That’s why I watch. The pressure is directed at people looking for entertainment – not basketball junkies like me.
    And no, I didn’t just turn in a college essay on why advertising doesn’t work on me. That no one needs to convince me to give the best basketball played on the planet a chance is not the same as saying I am always immune to such pressures.

  146. Declan:

    You’re so interesting! I do not suppose I have read a single thing like that before. So great to find another person with a few genuine thoughts on this topic. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This site is one thing that is required on the internet, someone with some originality!

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