Black Friday Heroes

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Thanksgiving is nearly here, and many people will follow up the day of thanks with The Day Of Sales. Black Friday shopping is as American as leftover turkey sandwiches at 2 AM, and if that's your thing, hey, godspeed. But before you head out to the malls, allow me a minute of your time to talk about the unsung heroes of Black Friday. I'm not talking about the people who get the last TV, or the best deal on an iPad. I'm talking about the retail workers.

Who? Yes, I'm talking about the people who work in the stores we will be visiting on Friday. Some of them will have worked all day or night on Thanksgiving, and now are just bracing themselves at the idea of the busiest day of the year. These are the people who work long hours on their feet the whole time, for comically little pay, and are there to serve us, the consumers, as we consume our hearts out the day after Thanksgiving. Please, I'm begging you, be nice to retail people this holiday season. Think of it as a big holiday gift to the world. It only takes a second to smile or talk to a person who works in a store, and believe me, they will appreciate it much more than you think.

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Retail is a really hard job. The pay is minimal, the hours are long, and dealing with the public can be challenging.  There's been a lot said about raising the minimum wage, and who does and does not deserve that, but that's not what this article is about. This is about showing goodwill to your fellow man and woman, especially if they're wearing a name tag. We don't think much about retail workers on any given day, and in many cases, the only interacting we do with them is if we have a problem with something at their store. Retail workers are sadly used to being yelled at, insulted, and dismissed by customers, and I'm here to tell you, they might not be sunshine and roses when you encounter them, but the overwhelming reason behind this is that they are tired. They are so tired. So maybe we should take an extra second to say Happy Holidays to them as well, as we barrel through the store hoping to get the last big important purchase of the day.

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In my experience doing retail, I encountered enough people to fill a phone book. Some were delightful, some were shockingly terrible, but most just did their business and moved along. There's nothing wrong with that, but perhaps we as a society could take an extra moment on Black Friday and smile, talk to, or just acknowledge a person who works at the store we're visiting. A little kindness goes a really long way, and what better time than right after we give thanks for what we have? We can do this. Heck, we already know their name. It's right there on the tag. C'mon, everyone. Let's spread a little holiday cheer. Isn't that the reason for the season?