Griping about “Black Friday” shopping has become a Thanksgiving tradition. Especially now that organized labor has glommed on to the issue as a way to get a foot hold into organizing the work force at retail giants like Walmart.
To some degree, I agree with the criticism of Black Friday. I’d rather not shop during the holiday and, what’s more, the images we see of angry mobs of shoppers fighting with each other over heavily discounted merchandise makes me feel a little sick to my stomach.
But what I hate about this debate is how many people blame corporate America and “big business” for sacrificing the holidays and family time on the altar of greed and profit (if I may channel some of the more hyperbolic of the critics). Why do you think these businesses do it? Why do they buck the criticism and open their doors to the public?
It’s because the public wants it. Nobody forces those shoppers to get up at ungodly hours to stand in line in the freezing cold for the sake of a big discount on a flat-screen television or a new gaming counsel. They do it because they want to. The stores are merely willing sellers peddling goods to willing buyers.
That the whole ordeal isn’t something I’m particularly interested in involving myself in, I support the right of seller and buyers alike to engage in commerce as they wish. And for those griping about the damage it’s doing to American culture, remember that it’s only happening because free people are choosing to do it.