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Black Friday Takeover

By Josie Hanna
On November 16, 2017

In 2016, The Balance estimated 102 million consumers shopped spending a total of $655.8 billion.
Photo By The Digi Blog

The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, is the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season. In 2016, The Balance stated that an estimated 102 million consumers shopped, spending a total of $655.8 billion. This day is also one of the only times that it is acceptable to be a ravenous consumer fighting for the best possible deal for those perfect gifts. Shoppers will knock each other out of the way, be up at ridiculous times of the day or night, and even wait in lines that stretch around the block in subzero temperatures. Why has this madness become one of the most anticipated days of the year? It has frankly become a problem.

    Before I go any further, let me preface this critical look at Black Friday with the statement that I love to shop. I shop in store, online, and locally. I understand just how huge of an economic impact the holiday season makes on the U.S. economy and I am happy to do my part. In fact, 30 to 40 percent of all retail sales in the U.S. are made between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I also appreciate a good deal when shopping. Who doesn’t love to get a quality item at a price cheaper than retail. It’s fantastic and often used as bragging rights.

    When the tradition of Black Friday first started, it lasted only one Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, with most sales starting somewhere around 5 a.m. In recent years, the trend has changed, fueled in part by consumers trying to stretch their dollar in tough economic times. Friday 5 a.m. sales have turned into Thanksgiving Day sales beginning at 5 p.m. The consumer frenzy has even lead to “pre-holiday sales” that can start as early as one to two days before the holiday.

    Ideally, Thanksgiving is a holiday where family and friends gather together to eat a meal and celebrate how thankful they are for the good things in their lives. This may just be my perspective coming from a large, close-knit family, but I would much rather have the priceless moments with family than the extra few bucks I would save Black Friday shopping.

    At what point did we as American consumers become so desperate that we were willing to give up quality time with our families just to save $5 on a Lego set or to get the latest Apple product while subjecting our bodies to absurd weather conditions. In a world where there is so much hate and negativity, why would anyone want to walk away from one of the few days that we have set aside as a wholesome family day.

    Another piece of the Black Friday puzzle that many consumers often overlook in their frenzy is the store personnel. Not only are consumers willingly leaving their families to shop for deals, they are also taking someone else away from their family on the holiday. In addition to that fact, if you have ever been Black Friday shopping, you probably have a story about a fellow shopper who you witnessed being rude to a store employee. If you work in retail on Black Friday, you are living in a nightmare.

    This year, instead of pushing your dinner plans forward to make that 5 p.m. sale, try looking into other ways to stretch your dollar this holiday season. Think about shopping Cyber Monday, or try Pinterest to find some handmade gift ideas. But start your holiday season off right with the best gift of all—your presence.

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