Occupy movement targets Black Friday

They’ve occupied parks, bank entrances and Wall Street. Now they’re occupying Black Friday.

Messages on a website called StopBlackFriday.com are encouraging the group best known for Occupy Wall Street to turn their attention this Friday toward major retailers. The website encourages occupation or simple boycotting of retailers. The group cites a connection between fourth quarter profits for retailers, credit card usage and the stock market as being the source for the protests on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

According to the StopBlackFriday website: "During 4Q is when many businesses first hit the black all year. The money made during 4Q has major implications for the stock market in the coming months, as businesses report their earnings. During 4Q, the credit cards the 99% overcharge will allow the 1% to enrich themselves gluttonously on the backs of hardworking people who simply want to provide a memorable time for their families. So just imagine what would happen to the 1% if the 99% did not spend on Black Friday."

In addition to encouraging site visitors to not spend money on Friday, the website encourages occupation, and "Occupy" protesters typically have featured sit-ins, on-site camping, slogan cheering and sign-waving as their modes of protest.

One notable difference is that "occupation" of retail establishments on private property is markedly different than protesting on public property on city streets or at government buildings. Asked how to handle such situations at a private business, retail security consultant Curtis Baillie, CSC, said that the first thing he would recommend store operators and store security personnel do is simply ask them to leave.

"I recommend asking them to leave," Baillie said. "If they continued to block customers from shopping I would advise them that they are tresspassing and then call the police. I do believe last week they 'occupied' a bank and sat down on the bank floor. When they refused to leave, the bank called the police and they were eventually removed."

Retailers that have been specifically targeted by the Stop Black Friday movement are listed on the website as the following: Abercrombie & Fitch, Amazon, AT&T Wireless, Burlington Coat Factory, Dick's Sporting Goods, Dollar Tree, The Home Depot, Neiman Marcus, OfficeMax, Toys R'Us, Verizon Wireless, and Wal-Mart. Many of those same retailers are known for offering door-buster specials that often create waiting queues for special deals on deeply discounted merchandise, and increased usage of security personnel and involvement with local police to control shopping crowds is normal for the day.

The protesters’ website does endorse American Express credit card company’s "Small Business Saturday" – although it encourages buyers to not use the credit card when supporting small businesses.
 

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