Black Friday: Consumerism, Debt Insanity, and Making Money

Black Friday is one of those days I personally don’t understand very well. Why do so many people get excited to give their money away? 

However, for my sister and brother-in-law who own a store, it is a big deal so I present to you a broad perspective of Black Friday.

Black Friday – Store Owners

Black Friday to a store owner is a big deal. At least to my sister and brother-in-law. This day and week will determine if they will be in the black or red for the year That is how much money is spent during the day and this one week. They will make hourly what they normally make daily…Black Friday is a huge deal for them.

My sister and her husband get charged three to four times their normal rent during November and December at the mall. It is really outrageous but some businesses will only lease for these few months because of the sales potential. My sister and brother-in-law actually don’t work at their store, they do a lot of the back-end things such as inventory supplies, securing new products, and hiring. 

They pay teenagers and poor student loan-crushed college students small bucks to do the hourly grunt work. However, they do work one week of the year at the store and that is Black Friday week. You can’t rely on teenagers during the most important week of sales.

Inventory will be at the highest level on this day and week since sales are 8-10 times normal and they add as many new products to make sure that customers not only pick up what they were looking for but one or two more items as well. It takes about two months of prep time to get ready for the holidays because if your whole year depends upon this time you don’t want to run out of product.

Black Friday – Most Requested Day Off

Every year the number one most requested day off from my employees is Black Friday. You would think it would be a real holiday, but no. It pisses me off so badly, but actually, it’s good because I know they will work real holidays to get time-and-a-half. 

I wouldn’t care if they were extending their Thanksgiving holiday to have a four-day weekend but to take a day off to shop and go deeper into debt drives me crazy. I shouldn’t care because they can do what they want, but I wish their efforts went into other things that would help them out financially.

I have already received PTO requests for Black Friday because they want to make sure they get it. Whenever I see it I always laugh and think “wow you really think you’ll still be here in a year.” Actually, I joke but it makes me feel good that even though some are in a starter position they are looking that far ahead on their job.

Black Friday – Debt

I know many of my employees are in debt, not just mortgage, but consumer debt. It’s just a fact of life across the country that most people have a tremendous amount of consumer debt. I make about 4 times what they do and yet they have newer phones than me, newer TVs, newer tablets, cable TV, and on and on. 

This year is going to be extra bad because we’re getting bonuses in November and December and huge raises in January and they have been planning for the extra money. I am planning for the extra money too, planning to invest so I can quit at 50.

They constantly complain about how things are tight, but I accept no sympathy because they could easily change their situation by eliminating this annual day of giving thanks to credit cards and stores….but for them, it is their release and they like to buy stuff. 

That is how you get into debt to start with and until your spending changes, you will always be controlled by your money. What if you took that money and learned to invest over the last decade? You would be financially very happy.

Black Friday – My Experience

I am not 100% innocent. I have participated in Black Friday once. It was the second year after being married and we wanted a new TV. We had lived for 9 months with no TV at all in our new house. We were so busy at work and with other things that there was no need, but my wife was expecting a baby and wanted a TV.

I shopped around for the best deals and finally found something that would fit in our house. I decided I would wait until Black Friday and battle the crowds to get the TV. My wife has the same financial philosophy as me and just laughs at Black Friday and loves her sleep instead.

I woke up early and headed to the store. When I got there no other cars were in the parking lot of the big warehouse. I thought it might be closed, but the lights were on and it was 5 a.m. I walked up and the person who checks memberships at the door greeted me and I asked if they were open. She said yes but said that they were just open because other stores were already open, but didn’t have any deals.

I walked over to the TV. I Got it loaded on the cart by two other employees and then I bought it and headed home about 5 minutes after going into the store.

I got home and my wife was still in bed she asked if I got the TV I wanted and I said yes.

She asked, “how were the crowds?”

“I was the only one at the store and there were no deals,” I said. “I could have bought the TV after work tonight.”

“Ha, you suck at shopping.”

Yes…yes, I do… the greatest compliment ever.

Leave a Reply