BlackThursdayInfographic5While much of the buzz about Black Friday, and its recently fortified companion Black Thursday, has been about deals and savings, there is another unfortunate reality of the shopping extravaganza, according to Colorlines.

The site released an infographic today detailing some of the realities of workers employed at Black Friday shopping destinations like Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, Sears and Kohl’s that this year will be open on Thanksgiving Thursday as well. Among other facts, Colorlines’ research shows that more 2 million workers at these retail establishment live at or near poverty and that more than half of them provide all or at least half of their families’ income. They also found that of the 16 million-plus retail workers in the U.S., women and people of color are significantly overrepresented in lower-paying, front-line jobs and underrepresented in management roles.

And if this year’s holiday advertising and Black Friday (Thursday) mania seems to have gone into overdrive, there’s a reason: the government shutdown. Read more from the site:

This year retailers are so worried about holiday sales that, according to The Wall Street Journal, they cranked up holiday marketing campaigns earlier than last year, starting before Halloween.  By the end of October they’d reached 35 percent more consumers with store ads and gifts than the same period of time last October.

Why the panic?

Before the government shutdown retailers were poised to have a strong 2013 holiday season. Forecasts put sales 4 percent higher than last year—twice the growth rate of the economy—and consumers were set to spend $786 on gifts this year. But the 17-day government shutdown changed all that.

During the D.C. showdown two million federal workers—disproportionately people of color—and the families that depend on them were denied vital pay at a critical point in the pre-holiday season. The government shutdown ultimately sucked $25 billion out of the economy.

For more information about the motivation of this year’s over-the-top Black Friday marketing, check out the Colorlines article.

See the infographic below.


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