Plaid to the Bone

Plaid to the Bone

As any retailer might tell you, for most of the year they operate “in the red”: their monthly revenue is usually lower than their monthly expenses. It might not be until the Christmas shopping season, which begins in November, when they start to see their revenues outpace their expenses. In other words, they are now “in the black.” Hence, Black Friday, the day after American Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping day of the year. 

And so, since the heady consumerist days of the late-20th century, we have a term that immediately describes the materialistic side of the Christmas season. As online shopping rose to ever greater heights of prominence, another milestone day came about: Cyber Monday, which occurs after the Black Friday weekend. 

We’re not saying there’s anything inherently wrong with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, big-box stores, or online shopping: they exist because of the free will of consumers, and they mostly have a positive effect on the economy. But we will not be celebrating either day; instead, we will sing the praises of Plaid Friday, which occurs this year on November 29.

A relatively new term, Plaid Friday is a day that encourages consumers to spend money at their local businesses at the start of the Christmas season, rather than in a big-box store or on Amazon. It celebrates the joys of local businesses, and what they bring not only to the economy, but also to the community. That it happens on the same day as Black Friday is no accident.

Muskeg Press celebrates Plaid Friday for a few reasons. One, the books we publish are only available at these local stores, and we want to support those businesses who support us. True, we have an online store where you can get your books directly from us – but the brick-and-mortar stores who have displayed our publications for their customers are important distribution points that bring our books to even wider markets.

It's also a matter of community support through simple economics. Below is a list of all the stores where our newest publication, The Outsider’s Guide to Prince Rupert (2nd edition), is available:

We and our friends frequent these establishments on a regular basis – without these shops, our community would become less exciting, less lively, more drab. The very existence of these stores contributes to the community, which coincides nicely with Muskeg Press' core values.

And these stores employ local people, who go out and spend their money on local events, local charities, local business, and (hopefully) locally-published books. How many people are employed by the stores listed above? Using a completely unscientific method, we would wildly guess about 50 people. There are some full-time jobs in there, but let’s pessimistically assume all the jobs are part-time. In Canada, the average part-time salary is around $37,000 per year. So, speaking very conservatively, the stores that support Muskeg Press put at least $1.85 million in pre-tax payroll alone into the community. Where those employees spend their money on is of course their choice, but we would like to think a solid portion of that is put back into our community. (And that doesn’t even touch upon the amount spent by these businesses on local vendors, which improves the local economy even more.)

If Black Friday and Cyber Monday exist due to the nature of our hyper-materialistic society, Plaid Friday is a counter-balance that asks us to slow down and focus on what’s important. Christmas, even in these hectic and confusing days, is still a time for giving to those you love. In that spirit, we encourage you to go Plaid and support local businesses, which are owned and which employ the people who have built and who sustain our communities.

With gratitude,

~Chris Armstrong