Thankful for a day: Americans overlook the effect of Black Friday

Nothing says ‘thankful’ like thousands of shoppers physically fighting for the best deals, trampling each other in the process. Oh, the joy of the holidays. While some are at home enjoying a post-Thanksgiving nap, the long weekend with loved ones or cranking up the volume on their long-awaited holiday music, many Americans take part in the craziness of Black Friday.

Dedicated to deals, Black Friday is dotingly set aside for customers to check items off their shopping list at the lowest prices. But while the idea is innocent in its nature, it has spiraled into an easily dreaded day, for customers and employees alike. For the majority of people, headlines screaming, “Three in hospital after tragic six cart pileup!” doesn’t quite set the scene for the most wonderful time of the year, but to each their own.

According to US News, hundreds of shoppers once flooded the gates of a Walmart in Grand Rapids, Michigan so quickly, that when the doors opened, multiple people were crushed by their fellow customers. Also at a Walmart, but this time in California in 2011, a woman used pepper spray to hold other shoppers off of her prized Xbox 360. During this spectacle, over 20 people were injured by her means of “defense”.

As Americans take part in this wallet draining event, they turn a blind eye to the effects it has on the essence of the celebration of Thanksgiving. Merely the day after declaring gratefulness for things like health, happiness, family and jobs, that mindset is thrown out the window, and families hit the shops. So much for being thankful for what is already obtained, as the need for more overtook the sanity of nearly 35 million Americans who shopped exclusively in stores on Black Friday in 2018, according to Business Insider.

Additionally, if it isn’t obvious, many of the employees who are forced to work on Black Friday aren’t exactly jumping for joy about it. I’m sure their frowns, tired eyes and attitudes about their unfortunate circumstances are wishing shoppers a very happy holiday season.

Beyond the meaning of Thanksgiving, Black Friday is “forcing” people to abandon their loved ones, who may have traveled and made many arrangements to spend this holiday together, just to save a little bit of money. Moreover, as store openings creep earlier and earlier, the essence of Black Friday is transforming into a new holiday: Black Thursday. Instead of spending the real holiday around the dinner table with friends and family, individuals are hitting the stores earlier than necessary.

Given that this extra special day of shopping, one that is essentially becoming a holiday in itself, is conveniently named Black Fridaymeans that, ‘hey shoppers! You should be shopping on Friday’. Crazy, right? In all seriousness, at least allow Thanksgiving to live its lifespan of 24 hours. It doesn’t get gifts or hundreds of songs. Let the final Thursday in November have its spotlight. And maybe don’t use the carts in Target as bumper cars, ok?


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