The Village Idiot

Black and Blue Friday

It seems people have forgotten the true meaning of our most profitable holiday: Black Friday.

Some people actually want companies to close on Black Friday to give their employees time off to spend with their friends and families, instead of working in a madhouse the day after Thanksgiving for the same pay they would get for working on a slow day in June.

Can you imagine? Where will this kind of crazy talk end? What’s next, giving employees the day off so they can get cancer screenings and colonoscopies? Giving hourly employees paid time off to care for sick children or tend to family emergencies? What kind of madness is this??

Sure, it’s OK for highly paid CEOs, managers, vice presidents and members of Congress to take random days -- and weeks -- off anytime they feel like it without getting their pay docked. Let’s face it: Who would notice if they showed up for work or not? But what would happen if the people who actually DO something for a living started to take time off to handle real-life situations?

Who would solve all the problems that everyone has at the cashier-free self-checkout machines? Who would put the magic marker stripe on your receipt as you walked out the door of the big box store? Who would put that strip of paper on the motel toilet seat that says it’s been cleaned? Who would train today’s new employee at the burger joint, who’s replacing the one who left after two weeks, who replaced the one before that, each one throwing in the towel after a single too-small paycheck?

If those people were allowed to take time off when they needed it, companies would be forced to hire more people to take up the slack. And then they’d just pass along the cost to you: the line-waiting, self-cashiering, trainee-watching consumer.

We all know that it’s OK for companies to pass along the cost of their CEOs’ $100 million salaries to the consumers, along with the salaries of the board of directors, the Washington lobbyists and the execs at the swanky advertising agency. It’s also fine to pass along the cost of the junk mail they send you every week. But it would be just plain wrong to pass along the hourly employees’ pay! Consumers deserve better than that.

“Giving employees higher salaries and benefits will put mom-and-pop stores out of business,” says one business expert. Of course, he must be talking about all the mom-and-pop stores that Amazon and Walmart haven’t already shut down. Because, remember: It’s OK for a giant retailer to put smaller stores out of business, as long as it’s not because the giant retailer started paying its lowly workers better. See the difference?

Too many of us forget the true meaning of Black Friday: to buy everything you can lay your hands on that says “10 percent off,” whether you need it or not. Sure, the store you’re standing in line to get into at 5 a.m. raised all of its prices by 25 percent the day before, but that’s not the point. The point is getting as much money as possible out of your wallet and into theirs.

Think about it: What countries DON’T have Black Friday sales? Communist ones. And if you don’t go out and get into massive retail debt on Black Friday, they win. You won’t be doing your part.

Stop shopping on Black Friday, and stores will have to let all their cashiers go and put in automatic scanners instead! Oh yeah -- they already did that. Well, don’t worry; they’ll pay someone lots of money to think of some way to keep the money they saved from trickling down to the people who need it the most.

(Contact Jim Mullen at

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