I used to work in retail and for four of the five and a half years I worked at the bookstore, I volunteered for the opening shift on Black Friday. I was nearly always around for Thanksgiving, more often out of town for Christmas, so it was my way of a.) making it up to my co-workers who worked Christmas Eve or the post-Christmas sale when I was always gone and b.) controlling when I had to work one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. If I worked early on Black Friday, sure, that meant going in at 6 am (that’s bookstore early, not Best Buy or Wal-Mart crazy early) but that also meant getting done with my shift at 1 or 2 pm.
Also, after the first year, I realized it was kind of fun. The bookstore customers were pretty chill, even on Black Friday. Many of them had already been to three or four stores and the bookstore was the end of their morning. We always had snacks and they were always appreciative of that, and grateful to be in a mostly calm environment. Also, I loved organizing the whole thing – stuffing the give-away bags, setting up the snack tables, putting the display signs up, handing out the bags to the people in line, trying to keep my co-workers pumped up before we opened by blasting fun music (also before we had to put on the requisite Christmas music).
All that being said, I dislike Black Friday and always have. Even though I made it fun for myself when I had to work that day, I’d drive past all the people waiting outside stores on my way to work (or worse, the night before Thanksgiving or even days ahead of time) and think, “What is wrong with you? If I didn’t have to go to work right now (or run errands or whatever), I’d be home, asleep or with my family.” I could go on a rant about Black Friday here but I won’t because this is about being grateful for a few things: I’m grateful for my time at the bookstore, even on Black Fridays; I’m grateful for an ability to turn potentially crappy/not fun situations into fun ones; and I’m grateful to no longer work in retail and to have a four-day weekend and the option of sleeping in on the biggest shopping day of the year.