Voices from Russia

Thursday, 28 November 2013

28 November 2013. Don’t Shop Today! The Workers Deserve a Day Off!

00.00k Politics Through a Cartoonist's Eyes 09.11.11

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In retail, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day are the only two holidays that workers traditionally receive. Now, many stores choose to open on Thanksgiving, which means that they’re taking away that break, denying retail workers a rare opportunity to spend a holiday with their families. Moreover, most of these workers are only being paid minimum wage for their trouble. A holiday shouldn’t be a luxury for the rich… all workers deserve time to spend with loved ones. That’s why I started a petition to retail CEOs, which says:

Thanksgiving is one of the only holidays that retail workers receive. By opening stores on Thanksgiving, stores rob thousands of men and women of the opportunity to spend time with their families. A holiday with family shouldn’t be a luxury for the rich; we believe that all workers deserve the chance to relax and give thanks with loved ones. We, as consumers, have the power to tell stores not to open on Thanksgiving by staying home. We hereby pledge not to shop on Thanksgiving Day, to show the retail industry that everyone deserves a holiday.

Click here to add your name to the above petition.

27 November 2013

Mike Lux

American Family Voices

 

Friday, 23 November 2012

23 November 2012. Sergei Yolkin’s World. Thanks! And Wrap Me Up One of Those, Too…

Thanks! And Wrap Me Up One of Those, Too…

Sergei Yolkin

2012

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In the USA, another “Black Friday” has come… it’s the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, with wild discounts and free promotional offers.

23 November 2012

Sergei Yolkin

RIA-Novosti

http://ria.ru/caricature/20121123/911909461.html

 

USA Braces for Thanksgiving “Black Friday” Bedlam

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It began as an act of humble gratitude. But as the USA marked its Thanksgiving holiday Thursday, it is also braced for Black Friday, a one-day, coast-to-coast, orgy of mercantile greed that’s become not just part of the annual tradition but, for many, the main event. Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at the retail research consultant NPD Group, said, “This weekend, retailers will go where they’ve never gone before with a new tradition I’ll call, ‘Turkey Day Trot’”. He was referring to decisions by top American retailers to launch Thanksgiving/Black Friday sales… events that draw tens of millions of shoppers into stores for huge discounts on popular merchandise… on Thanksgiving itself, a day traditionally reserved for gatherings with family and friends in the home.

Black Friday… the day after Thanksgiving… has long been called the single “busiest shopping day of the year” in the USA, an epithet beloved by marketing professionals, but also supported by objective data. Thus, it’s become the unofficial American start-date of Christmas-season sales. Matthew Shay, President and CEO of the National Retail Federation, an association of retailers, said, “Already there’s a tremendous amount of excitement and anticipation surrounding retailers’ Thanksgiving and Black Friday promotions”.

The Thanksgiving holiday, according to the popular historical narrative, began in the early part of the 17th century by Pilgrim and Puritan settlers in what was later to become the USA and Canada, as a spiritual expression of gratitude for the autumn harvest and for basic sustenance itself. However, as the commercial dimension of the holiday ballooned in recent years, so, too, have tales multiplied of shoppers’ behaviour ranging from the impolite and unsavoury to the downright violent and dangerous, as have visual images of unruly throngs battling for access to prized goods. In recent decades, stores that once remained closed on Friday following the holiday began to open their doors in the hopes of attracting more customers. More recently, many began to open at the stroke of midnight, whilst anxious bargain-hunters camped outside well in advance of opening time.

Now, the timing for the start of these mega-sales has moved up still further to include much of Thanksgiving Day itself, casting once-revered holiday traditions to the wind, fanning American obsession with getting and spending, and even posing a security risk for the shoppers themselves. It’s a peculiarly-American event that pits shopper against shopper and national chains against small local businesses in a frenzied contest for dollars and deals that’s led to dozens of injuries and deaths in recent years due to trampling, crushing, pepper-spraying, and shooting of those unlucky enough to be in the path of onrushing hordes of shoppers. One man whose wife was critically injured trying to get a discount laptop calls it “America’s Running of the Bulls”.

It’s gotten so bad that the federal government’s stepping in. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which enforces workplace safety standards, is encouraging retailers to take action to avoid tragedy… like the worker who was trampled to death by a Black Friday mob a few years ago. Assistant Secretary David Michaels said, “Crowd control and proper planning are critical to preventing injuries and deaths. OSHA urges retailers to adopt a crowd management plan during the holiday shopping season”. Their recommendation includes everything from trained security workers and barricades to an emergency plan.

Shoppers shouldn’t let the holiday greetings and forced smiles on the faces of employees of the big stores that have now decided to be open for business on Thanksgiving fool them. Union leaders and other insiders said that those employees need their jobs… but they’d prefer to spend the holiday with loved ones. Workers at the giant American retailer Wal-Mart are so angry about plans to open on Thanksgiving night… as well as other conditions that they think are unfair… that they’re planning strikes, rallies, and flash mobs designed to paralyse Wal-Mart stores nationwide at the start of the critical holiday season. Lawyers for the corporate giant even went to court in a bid to obtain an injunction that would force the angry works to stop their protests… but federal labour officials rebuffed their effort. Larry Gross, the Executive Director of the Coalition for Economic Survival in California said, “Wal-Mart has forgotten about families”.

21 November 2012

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20121121/177647735.html

Editor’s Note:

Look at the good news… the government’s siding with the workers, for a change. Remember, the oligarchs spent billions in their attempt to topple President Obama. To put it mildly, he’s not inclined to take their side, is he? Indeed, this may be a “Bridge Too Far” for the Affluent Effluent. God willing, it will be.

BMD

 

Black Friday Shopping Madness Starts on Thursday

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This year, many American retailers opened at 20.00 late Thursday and left Americans with no choice but to drop out of the oldest of American rituals… giving thanks and eating turkey, to head for the stores in pursuit of Black Friday bargains. Retailers used to open at dawn on Friday, and the Thanksgiving tradition was quite safe. Then, just a few years ago, suddenly, they opened at midnight. Last year, Black Friday crept into Thursday, as stores threw open their doors at 22.00. This year, stores decided to go even further and announced they’d start at 20.00. Many Americans had to sit down for Thanksgiving dinner earlier so that they could get to the stores on time. Michelle Vanaelst said, “It’s not the typical Black Friday. I like the way it always used to be”. Although many people are unhappy about it, the stores say that consumers have only themselves to blame. They explain that as much as people want to celebrate, they want to shop, too.

23 November 2012

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_11_23/Black-Friday-shopping-madness-starts-on-Thursday/

Editor’s Note:

I’ve NEVER shopped on “Black Friday”… I find it offensive and beyond the pale. Indeed, I do my best to stay away from malls on that day. To speak bluntly, no one “demanded” that the malls open early. If you needed proof that the crapitalist system’s crank and perverted at its core, this is it. It does speak to the cupidity of all too many, doesn’t it? I’m no spoil-sport or wet blanket, but “Black Friday” isn’t a real holiday, it’s a businessman’s artifice to fleece people and get more money. The sooner it goes into the dustbin of history, the better.

BMD

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