Black Friday Protests – Occupy protesters want shoppers to occupy something besides door-buster sales and crowded mall parking lots on Black Friday. Some don’t want people to shop at all. Others just want to divert shoppers from big chains and giant shopping malls to local mom-and-pops.
While the planned protests don’t appear coordinated, they have similar themes: supporting small businesses while criticizing the day’s dedication to conspicuous consumption and the shopping frenzy that fuels big corporations.
Nearly each one promises some kind of surprise action on the day after Thanksgiving, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.
In Seattle, protesters are carpooling to Wal-Mart stores to protest with other Occupy groups from around Washington state. Washington, D.C., is offering a “really, really free market,” where people can donate items they don’t want so others can go gift shopping for free.
Others plan to hit the mall, but not for shopping. The 75-person encampment in Boise, Idaho, will send “consumer zombies” to wander around in silent protest of what they view as unnecessary spending. In Chicago, protesters will serenade shoppers with revamped Christmas carols about buying local. The Des Moines, Iowa, group plans flash mobs at three malls in an attempt to get people to think more about what they’re buying.
“We didn’t want to guilt-trip people at a mall,” said Occupy Des Moines organizer Ed Fallon. “We wanted to get at them in a playful, friendly way, to support local businesses.”
Protesters say the movement shouldn’t take away money and seasonal jobs from the working-class majority it says it represents. The corporations, not the shoppers, are the focus of any protests, they say. But organizers hope their actions drive people to reconsider frenzied bargain shopping at national chains and direct their attention to small, locally owned stores.