Fast Focus: Black Thursday

November 25, 2012 

Support Small Business Saturday

Thoughts on Black Friday (and Cyber Monday)? Three words: Small Business Saturday.

Being the owner of a new retail shop, I admittedly have a vested interest in encouraging people to spend their dollars at small, local businesses. Whether that means in Prosser or Waitsburg or the Tri-Cities, dollars spent by shopping "small" support local individuals, not multi-national companies, and help small businesses survive and thrive!

Purchases at small shops help our friends and neighbors to be successful, and they in turn help invigorate our local economy. Dollars spent locally also help support local government and local schools.

If you missed the Nov. 24 nationwide Small Business Saturday, no worries -- the owners of your local stores will love to have you shop at their businesses any day of the year!

-- CANDACE ANDREWS, Prosser

Bring it!

I love the Black Friday tradition. It brings out the greed in all of us, and isn't that what Christmas is really about?

-- BOB ALLEN, Richland

Stop the shopping madness

Over the years, Black Friday shopping has become quite the orthodox. All around the nation, many gather in front of stores hours before they even open anxiously awaiting the "bargains" inside. Are they really bargains though? Odds are, the item that got you to stand in line for two-plus hours will be sold out because of limited supplies and you will pay full retail for any other items you wanted. Retailers are opening earlier and earlier each year, is it even considered Black Friday anymore? More like Black Thursday! For example, Toys'R'Us began with "door busters" at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Target opened at 9 p.m. as well, and Wal-Mart opened their doors at 8 p.m.

Thursday (Thanksgiving) should be a day to dedicate time to family and friends and give thanks. If this keeps up, will the nation even consider celebrating the true holiday? When is enough, enough?

-- RACHEL MOTHERSBAUGH, Pasco

Out of control

Too many commercials, too much hype. I stay away from the sales at all costs. I think the intrusive creep of the sales into Thanksgiving day has gotten out of hand.

Let's spend some time with our families and tone down the sell, sell, sell at all costs.

-- BRIAN SMITH, Benton City

Spend time with family

Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite holidays. Always have been and always will be. To me, this special time of year means spending extra time with my family decorating our home with all sorts of decorations, many of which are hand-me-downs from my grandparents; the perfect time to share a hot cup of tea and a good laugh with some close friends; and the time of year to enjoy the simple yet meaningful pleasures of life with the people you love and to be thankful for all we have been given in this life.

Unfortunately, to many people Christmas has become all about the expensive gifts and Thanksgiving all about Black Friday, the way to purchase those gifts. I'm all for saving money and the spirit of giving but how much is all that really worth? Do you honestly believe rushing out to the nearest store as soon as Thanksgiving dinner is over will mean more to your child then spending that special time with them? This holiday season, don't let society take away precious meaning of Thanksgiving, Christmas, family and tradition just to take advantage of "door-busters." Instead, stay home and craft homemade gifts with the ones you love.

-- MAGGIE LITTLE, Kennewick

Time to slow down

First celebrated in 1621, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the third Thursday of November. It is one of the few occasions when time seems to slow down: Reuniting with family reminds us of the true blessings in life, makes us appreciate how truly grateful we are, and seems to make our nagging problems not as imposing. Personally, my family's favorite saying is, "A tavola non si invecchia mai," which means "At the table, one never grows old." This splendid holiday -- quite sadly -- is being overshadowed by a tragically commercial dark spot known as Black Friday.

Instead of spending quality time with family, people are lining up in the freezing cold to get their hands on some supposedly good deals. In some instances, people have been camping outside of stores for weeks. It is obvious that these people don't understand the true meaning of the holidays. This Thanksgiving I'm thankful that I have the common sense to avoid Black Friday.

-- FRANCESCA SMITH, Richland

Willing buyer, willing seller

I think the Black Friday tradition is a wonderful way for merchants and customers to interact. I'm all for merchants giving specials to customers. If the customer is willing to wade through the masses and has the patience to participate, good for them.

I've never been shopping on Black Friday. I guess that says something about me.

-- BRAD BARTON, Richland

Give the gift of self

What do I think of Black Friday? I think it brings out the worst in people. The stories you hear of people being pushed aside, beaten or even killed trying to get that last low-priced toy, television or game system make it something no sane person would subject themselves to, unless they are possibly addicted to adrenaline.

I also think that if people want to give a meaningful gift to celebrate the season, they can consider alternatives such as providing services to the recipient, such as doing chores they find difficult (especially for the elderly or disabled), cooking meals, giving something homemade or buying from a local craftsperson. Personally speaking, I went to Black Friday events for a few years and found it to be a madhouse at best.

-- DEBBIE LENTZ, West Richland

Materialistic focus

I'm disappointed in merchants and their game of trying to out do each other by starting the Black Friday sales on Thursday evening.

Over the past several years, stores have moved the time they opened on Friday morning earlier and earlier. Following one merchant's lead from last year, several stores opened on Thursday night this year.

Isn't Thanksgiving Day a holiday? Traditionally, isn't it a day for family and friends and good food?

As a society, we judge our youth, allowing, encouraging with our money, businesses to falsely hypnotize our children and manipulate them to believe that they need the latest and the greatest of whatever widget is just out. But the newest electronic gadget, motorized riding toy, television or doll will soon be gathering dust on the floor with the child asking for something else.

I say no more. Let's set an example; let's take a stand. Stay home, read a book to your child, play a board

-- DARLENE VARLEY, Benton City

Alternative gifts

Black Friday is just part of the overwhelming hype that you have to buy a lot of stuff -- most of which you don't need -- to have a happy holiday.

It's absurd to see people camping out, then rushing the store, trampling people and even fighting over merchandise.

And now that the big box stores are pushing Black Friday into Thanksgiving Day there is even more of a frenzy -- fueled by newspapers and television stories that are tailored to make you feel like a loser if you're not out there participating.

I shop at my local independent merchants who offer personal service and merchandise that's not mass-produced.

I also "shop" at the Alternative Gift Fair (this year on Dec. 1 at 2819 West Sylvester St., Pasco) which allows me to donate to nonprofits as gifts to people on my shopping list who don't need any more "stuff."

-- DIANE REED, College Place

Avoid it like the plague

We have become such a nation of "takers" rather than "givers." It is no wonder shoppers fall for merchants' appeal of "buy one, get one free" or, shop early and get 90 percent off!

Just like the recent election, where people voted for a "handout" administration, shoppers follow the same path.

It is remarkable how many folks actually think they are getting a good deal. It is even more remarkable of how many fall for the subliminal thought, "if you don't buy it now, it won't be there by the time Christmas rolls around."

Yep, folks are like sheep being led to a slaughter when it comes to Black Friday. Everyone spending money they don't have, creating their own fiscal cliffs.

Personally, I avoid Black Friday and the subsequent weeks like the Black Plague.

May God forgive us for the commercialization of his Son's birth.

-- DAVE LEE, Kennewick

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