How Black Friday Takes Advantage Of Low-Paid Retail Employees
It's now the mark of the beginning of the holiday season.
Some people are filled with joy as they ready themselves for feasts and family reunions.
But, the unluckier bunch of us are filled with dread, as we ready ourselves for the most stressful time of year.
Being faced with herds of vicious, greedy and ultimately inconsiderate people who call themselves “bargain shoppers” is probably the worst part of this capitalistic holiday season.
I’ve worked in retail on and off throughout high school and college for about five years.
While you’re more likely to get hired during the holiday season, you’re also 100 percent more likely to be exploited.
Working for low wages, long hours (all while standing) and dealing with the worst people you may come across in your life is the reality for most retail workers.
Black Friday continues to try to push boundaries.
It tries to start a day earlier, it tries to make deals more exclusive and it tries to really excite people with the deals that are made available.
Now, as a customer, holiday shopping can be stressful in general. If you’ve never worked in a retail setting before, I want you to try to imagine it.
Think of the mass of people you find yourself shopping among. Imagine them making a mess of everything and making loud and rude demands.
This is not a setting you're choosing to be in for an hour. This is where you must stay for the rest of your day.
Retail companies are notorious for their infringement of workers' rights.
The use of on-call shifts (where you call the store two hours before your scheduled shift to find out if you’re working), low pay for high-demand jobs and the denial of unpaid time off during the holiday season are all absolutely absurd.
These issues would not idly pass as acceptable if it was not for our capitalistic consumerist culture, which encourages us to benefit at the expense of others.
In a country that boasts the concept of being a true American, we should not make it an exclusive ideal for the elite.
If we have a national holiday for workers, it should not automatically mean holiday sales and work for retail employees.
A national holiday should be a holiday for all.
The sentimental value in all these end-of-year holidays really holds a sense of togetherness, and it's a time for us to reconnect and appreciate our loved ones.
That should be an option available to all of us.
If you want to do anything to help workers, I suggest you not fall into the gimmick of Black Friday.
Black Friday is tomorrow, the day after Thanksgiving, the holiday that brings families around a table in thanks for the food they are blessed to have.
It's a holiday built in the praise of harvest.
This holiday is literally for the American population, so let us not limit who can celebrate it based on our own senseless greed.
Last year, Black Friday sales fell by 11 percent, some in response to the boycotts and protests on workers' rights and the government's lack of response to issues of police brutality.
As consumers, we have the power to influence the values of corporate organizations.
We are influencing them to become more eco-friendly and to care about gender and racial equality.
We can also influence them to have some respect for their employees and their right to celebrate a nationally recognized holiday.
Let us continue the trend this year and boycott Black Friday.
If the holidays are truly about love, appreciation and family, I think you’ll be fine without those overpriced gadgets that went on sale.