Reader Request: Thanksgiving, Shopping, and The ‘Black Thursday’ Push-back


My feelings on Thanksgiving shopping summed up in a quick drawing. (side note holidays were REAL interesting back on campus).

A reader requested last week that I take some time to discuss the current climate of the retail sector and it’s attitude towards Thanksgiving in a, “fact-based article.” I couldn’t deny that it was a topic that fell in several of my wheel houses, so I agreed to give it a go.

For those not in the know, several big name stores started moving up their Black Friday sales to Thanksgiving Day. The logic of this change is that retailers are afraid that most of the spending cash that people have will be gone by Friday.

But this movement has been met with quite a bit of disgust by employees and consumers alike who believe that holidays like Thanksgiving should be spent with family according to interviews by WCPO.

Of course, it seems that many stores share the sentiment. As a result, the list of retailers that refuse to open on Thanksgiving Day trump the list that will and continues to grow. Even GameStop, a retailer that I despise as a gamer (note to self: consider writing a take-down article on GameStop in the future), earned some respect from me by giving their workers the day to stay with their families.

The fact of the matter is this; the entire concept of the Thanksgiving/Black Friday sale is antiquated and obsolete. The advent of modern telecommunications and online shopping renders the need to camp outside of stores for hours and trample people to death (Seriously, check out the stories. It’s a damn horror show) completely unnecessary.

And what about the fears of people running out of disposable income before the sales? Well, most Americans tend to get paid biweekly on a Friday. So, wouldn’t you think that the best time to go for someone’s wallet would be that coming Saturday – usually the second or fourth one of the month? That’s when people have the most cash to spend AND when they are actively looking to spend it.

Now, I am willing to give a few businesses a pass on staying open on Thanksgiving and other holidays. After all, the grocery stores need to provide those last minute fixings for the family dinner they forgot about. Also, speaking as someone who works in the hospitality industry at a local inn/spa, families rejoining across states or even countries need a place to stay. That being said, there are ways to give everyone what they want.

Using myself as an example, everyone has to work on thanksgiving at the inn. However, we are given the opportunity to choose when we would like to come in (seniority has first dibs, naturally) and we all only have to work for half of our normal shift. What’s more, we earn double our normal rate of pay for our trouble.

So, in terms of the counter-response to this ‘Black Thursday’, I’m glad to see so many people joining in on the movement. Many of us do the work we do to support our families to begin with, so it stands that we should be given time to enjoy the company of the people we work for on the days when it matters most.

Don’t forget; you can submit your own Reader Request ideas on my Twitter and Facebook pages. Just send your topic to one of them with the hashtag #AARequest. If I like it, I’ll be sure to use it.

Reader Request: The Agent On Fighting Games


Three times more exciting than the UFC with ninety percent less chance for physical injury.
Source: Capcom

I was recently contacted by one of my readers who was quite pleased with last week’s review of The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot. He then asked if I could do a review of Skullgirls stating that he enjoyed learning other peoples opinions and his confidence in “the position [I’m] in as an unbiased reviewer.”

Failing that, he also said that he’d like to know my thoughts on the fighting genre of video games in general.

Since I do try to space out articles with similar themes, I won’t be reviewing Skullgirls; at least not this week. But I’d be more then happy to inform others on my thoughts on the genre for fighting games.

Fighting games, like any genre of any entertainment medium, has it’s own set of strengths by which it plays by and excels at. The greatest strength of fighters is their nature to spark competitiveness.

Fighting games have always been at their best and most cherished when players could easily turn them into one on one tests of reflexes, memorization, and nerves. This is why so many tournaments in the field of what is now “electronic sports” are centered around fighters. Granted genres like real-time strategy, first-person shooters and multiplayer online battle arenas are also popular, but most people will usually liken e-sports to the Evolution Championship Series that focuses exclusively on fighters.

Brief side note: I’d like to point out that when most people in favor of regulating the sale of so-called “violent games” talk about people expressing violent tendencies while playing games, I think what they’re seeing is this competitiveness. Tensions run high when you’re in a competitive environment. The “violent tendencies” you see gamers express while playing is no different than those of fans and players of traditional sports and I have yet to see a ban called on football where people can REALLY get hurt.

Anyway, back to fighting games…

The one problem with a genre so intrinsically linked to competition is that it’s very difficult for those just looking to play and have fun to get into. We have to face the facts; there are a lot of different types of gamers out there and not all of them are out to take the game as seriously as the rest of us.

As for me, I like fighters. I like studying the strategies and tactics of gameplay and finding something that works for me. I like memorizing button combinations and the feeling of completion when I finally manage to best someone in honorable battle (as rarely as that happens. I’m actually quite terrible at most fighters despite my love for them).

I guess the message I’d like to leave my readers with is this: to the people who have been playing for ages, be open and let the newbies in. It’s those newbies that will be the pros in the future. And to those afraid to jump in and try, don’t be. You will likely fail many times as you start, but diligence and careful study will lead to your success.

Do you have a “Reader Request” you’d like to see? Leave a comment below or send a your request on Facebook or Twitter with #AARequest.