It was bound to happen sooner or later: that annual American tradition of frenzied consumerism, Black Friday, has come to Canada. I recall seeing Black Friday signs in the windows of a few retailers last year, but this year they’re everywhere. Moreover, the media has now gotten on board, with practically every major print publication and website running articles about it over the past few days. (Including us!) Unlike Americans, we don’t even get tomorrow off, but still the pressure is on to shop, shop, shop. If you’re debating joining the masses tomorrow, take a moment to think about the ripple effects of Black Friday on Canada. Many of its domestic proponents—owners of shopping centres, mainly—claim it’s good for Canadian businesses because it prevents consumers from crossing the border to do Christmas shopping. But most of the retailers involved in Canadian Black Friday are American-owned. Worse, most of them are huge behemoths like Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Future Shop. (Thought Future Shop was Canadian? Nope—it’s a wholly owned subsidiary of, yes, Best Buy.) I love a deal as much as the next person, but every dollar spent at one of those mega chains is a dollar spent destroying small business in Canada. Small businesses can’t negotiate the supplier discounts big corporations get, and they can’t sell in large enough quantities to make a profit off of such steep discounts. If they want to compete with the chains, they have to sell at a loss, which does no one any good. Is that $10 you save buying a coffee maker at Wal-Mart really worth it? Plus, we already have Boxing Day—isn’t that enough? Even the name “Black Friday” should give us pause. Does it sound like a nice, cheery tradition we all should want to embrace? No, it sounds downright sinister, and for good reason. Tomorrow, vote with your feet and stay as far away from the malls as possible. Better yet, visit a small Canadian-owned shop and buy a gift or two there. It’ll do us all good.