Black Friday…bah, humbug!

Published 9:35 am Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Prices slashed….deep discounts….huge savings; I hope everyone enjoyed their Black Friday….err, I mean Thanksgiving…break from the daily grind.

Gee, whatever happened to enjoying the one day of the year where we bow our heads and give thanks to the abundance of blessings bestowed upon this great nation…minus, of course, the current state of politics.

It seems that Thanksgiving has rather evolved into a day of rest in order to rise well before dawn, go stand in line at a big box retailer and wait for the stampede when the doors open for some cheap electronics that will play out long before the limited warranty expires.

No pun intended, but no thank you to Black Friday. I’ll wait until the seething mob, complete with their door buster sales papers in hand, has returned to their residential confines before I dare to venture out for my holiday shopping trip.

Sure, we still gather as family and friends at Thanksgiving to share a fantastic meal, watch some football and perhaps take a little time to reflect on our many blessings. However, the day, in my opinion, is now a shallow hull of its past. It’s been transformed into Black Friday Eve.

Outside of the traditional Christmas break, name me one other holiday where the majority of businesses, other than retail outlets, are closed for two consecutive days.

Perhaps our nation’s most important holiday – July 4th – is only observed for one day…not unless you are one of those individuals that use the July 4th week for annual vacation.

Easter is also an important holiday observed in the United States and around the Christian world. However, most employers grant only one day off from work and it’s not actually Easter Sunday….either Good Friday or Easter Monday.

Federal and state employees enjoy a day off on Washington’s Birthday (the third Monday of February) and Martin Luther King’s Birthday (the third Monday in January) to pay tribute to these two great Americans. But there’s no “Super Tuesday” following either of those holidays.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed the last Monday of May, set aside to remember those brave Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice…their lives in military action. Ditto for Veterans Day (Nov. 11) where we pay honor to our military heroes, living and dead. Without those men and women, we would not have the freedom of shopping on Black Friday…or perhaps we would, just paying for our merchandise in a foreign form of currency.

What about Columbus Day (the second Monday in October)? Why is that not celebrated on more than one day? What if a leak had sprung in Christopher’s ship and sank before he reached the new world? America would today still be undiscovered (okay, it would have been found by someone else, but just humor me for the sake of this column), void of the big box retailers that rake in the cash on Black Friday.

Have I made my point about the need for a two-day break at Thanksgiving? Those who work for a living can still rise early for those 3 a.m. deals, but you better be on the job five hours later!

Black Friday…bah, humbug! Between then and Dec. 24, there’s 29 shopping days until Christmas. What’s the big fuss about just one of those days?

Cal Bryant is Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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