End the madness

Black Friday deals disrupt holidays and cause unnecessary chaos

By The Connection Editors

Black Friday, traditionally the largest shopping day of the year and blast-off to holiday shopping and saving, is the definition of American greed. Shoppers across the United States look forward to standing in long lines and making their way through large crowds to get the hottest deals of the year. The occasion is increasingly interrupting the significance of Thanksgiving and taking away from the meaning of the holidays in American households.

“Black Friday” was a term coined in Philadelphia in the early 1960s as the day that retailers turn a profit. For most of the year, retailers operate at a loss, or “in the red,” but during the holiday season, they turn a profit, or operate “in the black.”

Black Friday is now starting on Thanksgiving Thursday due to a combination of corporate selfishness and shoppers not wanting to stay out so late. However, these recent trends are causing relatives and friends to end their dinners early, or cancel them altogether, to go on shopping sprees.

This is unfair for several reasons. Not only is it unjust to the host because they spend time cleaning up, arranging food and planning the gathering, it is unfortunate for those who are uninterested in shopping, but have to compromise their plans or traditions all because of certain deals happening on Thanksgiving.

Not only are some shoppers hurting others by hitting up the early-bird Thanksgiving sales, but people are sacrificing irreplaceable memories with family and friends for their current material desires.

While shoppers have the option to cancel Thanksgiving plans or leave early, Black Friday is unfortunate for those who work in retail. Employees must work long, absurd hours and are not entitled to holiday pay, ruining their Thanksgiving with family members they may only see once a year, if that. The stress it puts on employees by sleep depriving them, making them to work through long, insanely busy periods and miss out on Thanksgiving plans is inhumane, especially if no extra benefits are received.

Most of the deals require being one of the first people in line and arriving at the store at an unusual time of the day, causing some to stand all day or even camp out in a store’s parking lot. Because many of the sales on Black Friday only last for a few hours, the shopping atmosphere is hectic and hostile as customers franticly try and find the items they want to purchase before the shelves are empty.

Sometimes, mobs are created and people get out of control. There are several cases of shoppers getting injured and employees being disrespected due to the greed established from a combination of lack of sleep, time restrictions and limited supply of items.

In the worst case scenario, a Wal-Mart employee in Long Island, New York died in 2008 after being bum-rushed by 200 people. Not only that, four shoppers, including a woman eight months pregnant, were injured, according to NY Daily News in November 2008.

While it is understandable why one may make a tradition of or have the desire to participate in this annual experience, many of the deals Black Friday offers are overrated and not worth the sacrifices required to obtain the deals. Most of the sales go on until Christmas, and not all stores participate in Black Friday deals.

While it may be impossible to end the madness altogether, people can make a difference by avoiding the temptation of Black Friday deals that begin on Thursday. If less people spent so much time and effort getting unnecessary items that are on sale during time that should be spent with family and friends, stores would be less likely to launch these types of incentives.

It is important to allow time for people to cherish the importance of Thanksgiving. Do not allow the excitement of early discounts confuse the difference of Thanksgiving and Christmas. While Americans are often busy, there is always a way to get all Christmas shopping done without interfering with Thanksgiving, and still saving plenty of cash.

The latest XBOX or a new television will not buy happiness, and the true significance of Thanksgiving and Christmas are not material possessions. If one insists on participating in Black Friday, they should make sure not to let wants get in the way of the true importance of the holidays— family and friends gathering to give thanks, celebrate and create memories.

*Featured image taken from Google Images.

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