The Paw Print
The month count down has begun till finals, and the madness is only interrupted by the fleeting thanksgiving break. Thanksgiving is a cherished American holiday that brings families together, whether it is welcomed or not. Once the potato and turkey has been scarfed down and pecan pie is slowly digesting, our minds switch tracks. We forget the joyful holiday, a day off of our chaotic lives to enjoy a large meal, and we focus on the infamous Black Friday. Yes, our society cannot enjoy one holiday without it becoming materialistic and commercially dominated. This day for shopping falls the Friday after Thanksgiving but is not considered a holiday, even though most people have it off work. Exceptions are the workers in retail.
The Black Friday concept has been around since 1924 when the Macy’s Day Parade kicked off, making the Friday after Thanksgiving the official start to the madness of holiday shopping. In 1960 the term “Black Friday” became the title of this crazed day. At the time, accounting records in stores were still handwritten in black ink, meaning that the store was making a profit.
Great door buster deals draw in customers who are so desperate to get the latest Barbie or Flat screen TV that they will wake up at 5 am to achieve this goal. In 2011 retailers including Target, Kohl’s, Macy’s and Best Buy opened at midnight for the first time. Wal-Mart upped the ante in 2012 and made the Black Friday madness start at 8 pm on Thanksgiving. Now in 2014 more and more retailers push their opening time into the festivities. The really crazy consumers wait days in advanced completely overlooking the grand ol’ Thanksgiving dinner. Even though this day is madness in the mall, that doesn’t mean it is the biggest shopping day of the year. Black Friday is considered to be in the top six or seven for stores, but the week before Christmas usually takes the cake with the most cash flow from procrastinators. Some of the deals offered are incredible markdowns from the original price; other items are barely on sale, and yet more than 1.2 million Americans participate in this shopping insanity.
What people don’t realize when they are waking up at 5 am or even midnight to go shopping is that this “holiday” is actually dangerous! Wal-Mart and Toys R Us have some of the most tragic stories. In 2008 a young man, 34 years old, died from asphyxiation when 2000 shoppers stampeded over him in New York. Shoppers even bring guns to children’s stores like Toys R Us. In California two men chased each other through the store shooting around Christmas decorations, resulting in both being shot to death near the registers. Toys R Us released a statement explaining that although this dispute happened during Black Friday it had no relation to the day itself.
There are so many days in a year that are available for shopping. So why ruin one of the best holidays with the madness of a consumer based society? It is my opinion that spending the holiday with your family and friends is the better option. After all it is ironic that we leap from a holiday that celebrates being thankful to a greedy holiday about getting the best deals at whatever cost. This Thanksgiving try to remember what is really important and enjoy that over fed feeling that follows dinner without stressing about Black Friday. If you do however find yourself amongst the madness at 5 am on that Friday, then good luck my friend