I worked in retail for several years, first for a large, national retailer, then for a great local store (Garner TV & Appliance). It was one of the most important formative experiences of my life. One aspect of my personal growth relates to this time of year. I worked every Black Friday. Of course I did, I think everyone in retail does. It is an important day on the retail calendar, one of the few days most Americans are off work and thus able to shop (retail and food service industries naturally work off the ‘normal’ schedule, working when others are not, serving food when most people are hungry).
I had to learn to be thankful for working Black Friday. And I don’t mean force myself to pretend, making the best of my ‘bad’ situation. I mean I had to shift from thinking I “had to work” to realizing the great privilege I had in being an able-bodied person with a job earning income for my family. Black Friday was important for us personally. At least one year, I earned our entire Christmas budget that one (very long, very busy) day. If you will be working tomorrow, I hope you can be thankful for that, for your job, for your work, for the people you work with and for, and for the customers who give you their business (even the grumpy ones).
If you are shopping tomorrow, I hope you will do so thankfully too. Thankful for all the employees working for you. Thankful for the deals you get (and for having money to buy what you need and want). Thankful for the other shoppers. Their presence can be an annoyance – or – you can take the opportunity to be kind and compassionate to those around you. Kindness and compassion are the quintessential human expressions, all the more in situations where they are harder or more against the grain of what’s going on. So you can be thankful even for the most difficult fellow shoppers (retail friends read: those grumpy customers) in that they serve to test the mettle of your kindness and compassion.
So, whether you’re working, shopping, or avoiding the whole thing, I hope you find reasons, strength, and energy to be thankful tomorrow. Take joy in where you are and the people around you. You will probably find your thankfulness, kindness, and compassion contagious in the best way.