By David Paul Downs

“Black Friday” is the day after Thanksgiving where stores open up early with huge discounts for shoppers, at least for those who themselves do not work retail and are off for the day. It is a kick-off for the most consumerist holiday of all: Christmas. In no way should that be a reflection of Christmas. The foundation of Christmas, whether you’re a follower of Christian or non-secular beliefs, is a day for sharing and giving. Black Friday has become a day for retail corporations to freely abuse their employees by forcing them to work unreasonable hours. The only thing Black Friday accomplishes is impeding on a holiday whose true message takes a commercial back-seat every season: Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is the one day of the year dedicated to giving thanks for what we have in our lives. We gather for a family feast and reflect on the things that really matter in life. In essence, it’s the opposite of what Christmas has become.

I have worked many retail and service positions in my younger years, which means I’ve worked before, on, and after holidays. I am so appreciative now that I have a job that gives me holidays off. You might say that I am now among the target market for these Black Friday sales. And, if Friday wasn’t good enough, some stores will even open on Thanksgiving Thursday so when I’m bored with my family, I can ditch them to go shopping. What a wonderful world, where I am awarded this convenience at the expense of all those retail employees who are forced to work on a national holiday or be fired from their jobs.

Well, guess what… You will not see me step foot in one these greed mongering retailers on Black Friday or Thanksgiving Thursday. I can’t. It would make me feel like a real jerk. It would mean forgetting what I went through as a retail employee every year since I was old enough to work.

I’m not saying that shopping the day after a holiday is such a terrible thing to do, but it should be done during normal business hours. All the “big box” stores out there who are opening early are committing a crime against workers and their families. Don’t support that. Shop regular hours. There are more important things, like family, friends, and dignity. This Thanksgiving will be spent with my family eating great food, laughing at jokes, playing board games, and keeping warm by a fire. The next day, I’ll sleep in and have breakfast with my wife. Maybe later we’ll stop by the local coffee shop and talk about our Christmas plans. Perhaps we’ll go to the movies. Whatever we do, it will not be fighting for gifts and standing in long lines. This year, I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving to the fullest and don’t treat it as a road block to Christmas.