Why I Like Black Friday

November 28th, 2012 | Simcha Weinstein | Comments Off on Why I Like Black Friday

Most of the imagery that gets shown from Black Friday is pretty strange at best. It truly depicts the American consumer as looking fairly primitive, selfish, and even barbaric when it comes to shopping for deals. Imagery aside, the stories, both written and verbal, seem to show something pretty similar – we’re crazy mad when it comes to $200 off on a new television.

Well, oddly, I have a bit of a different take on Black Friday. I actually believe it points (or has the capacity to point) to our better natures; but in order to get your head around this perspective you must view the entire day from the perspective of the retailer. If you simply focus on the shopper, then yes, we’re an out-of-control population, whose citizens seem to be most passionate about doing whatever it takes, at anyone’s cost, to find the best deal on the “thing” that we most desire. A very flattering portrait indeed!

But back to the “retailer perspective.” On Black Friday, men and women from all walks of life assume their working roles as clerks, cashiers, sales people, managers – a variety of titles, but each of them has the distinct duty of dealing with this crazy Black Friday public who walks through their doors. And amazingly, for the most part, these retailer saints do it with charm, patience, grace and a smile.

So my question is why don’t we treat each other as citizens the way we treat each other when we’re in costume as retailers? Even on Black Friday, when a shopper enters a store, they are typically greeted pleasantly with a “can I help you” rolling off a salesperson’s tongue for the 300th time that day. The beauty of the retail interaction is that at that moment, there is no apparent judgment going on. The salesperson is not about to judge the patron who just walked through their doors. It doesn’t matter what political stripes they wear; it doesn’t matter who they choose to love; it doesn’t matter what religion (if any) they dance with. Nope, it’s a very clean and simple interaction from a human perspective.

Unfortunately, back out into the real world, and we are suddenly tolerant no more. Uttering the words “can I help you” rarely occur even as we stroll past a neighbor who is busily raking their leaves. I know it may sound strange, but I think we need to practice treating one another as if everyone we meet is a customer walking into our store. If our citizenry showed each other the same respect, tolerance and willingness to help as we do in a retail situation, well, it seems strange to say, but I think we might improve our ability to get along with one another; which seems ironic after seeing all the horrific Black Friday videos. It’s certainly worth a try.

Who knew that retailing was actually good for us?