Black Friday – Because Thanksgiving isn’t worth shit.

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I’m up north at my parents place.  The middle of nowhere, with just my family and their cat, Max.  We came up yesterday, early afternoon, and are staying until tomorrow at some point.  Thanksgiving was technically yesterday, but we’re doing it tonight since my step-siblings just got here.  Right now, I’m relaxing with a cup of coffee, when all of the kids are outside on the ice (it’s right on a lake).  It’s calm, and oh my god, the amount of food is amazing.  It’s about family and friends, which is what this holiday is supposed to be about.

We spend Thanksgiving spouting off about how thankful we are for what we have, for who we have in our lives.  We tout ourselves as thankful people, who appreciate life and I’m sure you’ve already read 56 hundred posts about ” Things I’m Thankful For”.  Americans take a holiday (which isn’t based on reality BY. THE. WAY.) which has it’s heart in family and thanksgiving, and use that one day a year to show how much they appreciate everything and everyone.

AND THEN.  Black Friday.  Less than 12 hours after most of America sits down to eat Thanksgiving dinner, the same Americans are standing in line, before the sun is up, just to fight each other for the best deals on material possessions.  Less than 12 hours after a day dedicated to being thankful for what you have, for the people you surround yourself with, Americans are barging down isles, grabbing items out of other peoples hands, raging.  In Romeoville IL, in the rush this morning, there was a knifing, and a shooting.  All at a Black Friday sale.

Now imagine this.  This consumer fueled, greed filled day, forces people in retail to work jobs (a lot of them hate) at horrible hours instead of spending a holiday with their family.  These past couple of years, Black Friday has started on FUCKING THURSDAY.  Who needs a holiday when sales start at 6pm on Thanksgiving.  Start your shopping NOW, forget being THANKFUL, waste your money, neglect your family all at the expense of a person who now has to work a holiday in order to keep their job.

Greed is pathetic.  Do I support Black Friday?  No.  Do I blame the corporations and business owners for it?  Partially.  Unfortunately the problem is us.  Humans, Americans are so money driven, material driven that we bowl over everything else.  If we didn’t FUEL consumer black holes such as Black Friday, they wouldn’t exist.  Corporations couldn’t make money off of us so there would be no need for the biggest shopping day of the year.  Yet here we are, the day after Thanksgiving, and I’m watching the news about people injured at a sale, about *Buy THIS at THIS PRICE, a Black Friday Special!!* and about the few righteous people who lost their jobs for REFUSING to make their employees work ON Thanksgiving.

So instead of shopping this weekend, instead of running with the masses on Black Friday, I’m spending time with my family.  I’m spending time reflecting on what I do have, enjoying my family, and keeping my money in my pocket.  I do not support this consumer black hole, and more importantly, I don’t support companies who make their employees work horrid hours because Americans suck.  So while people are out in the stores, pushing each other over to get the best price, I’ll be right here, with my family, where I’m supposed to be.  I’m thankful I have this time to be with them, because back when I worked sales/retail, I didn’t.

 

 

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Closing Up Shop

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Excuse me if I don’t make much sense, but I’m pretty freaking mad right now.  I don’t like getting phone calls from people I care about, hearing that they’ve lost years of hard work.  

You know what’s wrong with this freaking economy?  What’s wrong with our work force?? Do you!?  It’s not the workers, oh no.  It’s the people who hold the check books.  It’s the OWNERS.  It’s the men and women who don’t put any work into their own businesses and give the shaft to the men and women who bust their ass to keep the business afloat.  

This is my big red hot FUCK YOU to corporate assholes. 

I’ve been going to Gurnee Midas for 8 years now.  8 years, that would be over 10 cars (don’t ask, I’m accident prone and have horrible mechanical luck).  Dave, the general manager, and his crew have taken care of me and my family that whole time.  They’ve looked at all of my cars pre-purchase, for free, they’ve worked on my cars (and if you’ve seen some of them, you know that’s not an easy task and is most definitely time consuming and frequent) for parts or half labor.  They’ve dealt with me not being able to pay, worked payment plans with me, and they’ve gotten me deals purely because they knew I couldn’t afford full price parts.  They’ve dealt with my neurosis and driven around with me for an HOUR just so I could show them that noise I heard in my wheel well.  They’ve paid for tows to their shop, and they’ve gone above and beyond to accommodate me and my daughter.  My daughter is 5 and knows most of them by name.  

When my car breaks down (as it often does, has and likes to) or if I need general maintenance, I go there.  They are my blue collar family, and I know they won’t rip me off.  Not to mention, I prefer to spend my money local, even if it’s to corporate owned businesses, I’d rather my money be doled out in paychecks to the local workforce.  

Anyway.  So I get a call from a number I didn’t recognize this morning.  

“Hello? I don’t have any money.” 

“Sarah, I’m not a bill collector.”

“Oh, who is this?” 

“Dave, from Gurnee Midas.” 

“What’s up duuuuude? Where the hell are you calling from?”

“Home.  This is my home num..”

“Why are you not at work?”

“That’s what I’m calling about.  Remember when I told you a few weeks ago that we were being bought by a new owner?”

“Yup.”

“Well, that new owner fired all of us.  ALL OF US.  Gave us 6 hours to get our tools out.  They hired inexperienced guys for half the pay.”

“Arson?”

The conversation went on from there.  He told me some of the new reviews of the new crew from his regular customers.  We all have his personal number, and apparently he’s getting up to 10 calls a day from his regulars wondering where he is, and why they just got ripped off.   I guess the biggest complaint about the new crew is that they basically have turned into Jiffy Lube.  Dave’s crew never forced sales, they’d tell you if you needed something, but they’d also let you know it’s not immediate.  This new crew is DAMAGING cars and forcing sales.  Customer’s are now walking out and searching to replace the crew they’ve all used for years. 

After so many years of bringing my business there, I am disgusted.  On one owner’s quest to cut his labor expense, he laid off SEVERAL man who put in their time.  Those men have families who depend on their paychecks, and now those men are FIGHTING for unemployment.  

I am glad that Dave has so many loyal customers, many of us are no longer going to frequent Midas, and a good chunk of us are going to give Dave our work privately until he gets back on his feet.  I am sad at the loss of a great shop, a great manager, and my trusted mechanics.  Hopefully by the amount of walk-outs Midas gets, the new owner learns a valuable lesson. 

 

Good luck to my blue collar boys.