As the years pass, I’ve come to realize that Friday isn’t everything I thought it was, even based on my opinion of it only a decade ago. In New Orleans, Friday means everyone shuts down from Business Mode and transitions to Weekend Mode by 2:00 p.m. Friday means I won’t be able to get anyone to return phone calls or reply to emails for three days. And thanks to a certain viral pop tune, Friday is also a chant we taunt our friends and colleagues with, provoking damage to personal property and/or bleeding of the ears. Then, there’s Black Friday. I may actually prefer being subjected to the aforementioned vocal diarrhea for hours on end than to step foot inside a shopping mall or mass-merchandiser on this unholiest of unholy days. Why do I abhor Black Friday so?
Death of a Business Owner
Yes, I buy my bathroom tissue from CVS, kitty litter from Petsmart, and lipstick from Sephora. However, I purchase my clothing, accessories, shoes and groceries from locally-owned businesses as often as my budget allows. As consumers, putting our hard-earned money into the pockets of a local business owner generates taxes that go toward making our craggy streets more navigable. It creates jobs for our neighbors. It provides options and variety. I would rather go naked than to have only clothing lines endorsed by the Kardashians to shop from. I certainly do not pass judgement on those that depend on Walmart to make their daily buck stretch, but for those that have a bit more flexibility with where their wallet is opened, patronizing local businesses during the holidays turns into a gift for many.
NOW, WITH MORE ADVERTISING! AND EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!
Once upon a time, I only had to endure the weekly flyers and occasional email from a handful of big box stores I had previously done business with. I stopped watching broadcast television over five years ago, so at least I haven’t had to deal with the gag-inducing luxury automobile and diamond jewelry commercials. Now, thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Google ads, YouTube videos and other digital media outlets, businesses can shout from the rooftops of the internet at their demographic (usually) for free. Unlike the hype man on the sidewalk, though, it is medically impossible to lose your internet voice.
You’re Ruining It For Everyone!
Unfortunately, in order to compete for the gift-buying budgets of customers finding themselves strapped for expendable income, local business owners must do the same in order to compete, adding to the Black Friday epidemic, rather than quelling it. Any other time of the year, I would either read or pass over these updates without a second thought, but when compounded with the visual assault from the giant corporate chains that penetrates my eye holes whenever I try to watch a cute cat video, I find myself getting turned off from even leaving my house this weekend. But, you know what? I don’t blame the small businesses. They’re just struggling to compete with the 83 emails I have received in the past 48 hours that scream, “TIME IS RUNNING OUT!”, “HURRY!”, “LAST CHANCE!”, and, yes, even, “Pre-Black Friday Savings Frenzy TODAY! Save Like Crazy.”
A fucking FRENZY, people!!! If you did not go out and save like CRAZY today, you might as well kill yourself, because you missed THE shopping event of the year. Perhaps of your life. At least that’s what they hope you will think when you see this in your in-box.
You’re Doing It Right!
Thankfully, New Orleans is a city that supports locally-owned businesses. It seems to be second nature to those in my large circle of friends. I’m not gonna lie; it’s downright attractive.
How’s that for sensational marketing? “Shop Local. Be Sexy.” I’d buy that for a dollar.