Black Friday Blues: Reforming Black Friday for the good of society

By Sarah Eckrich
Staff Writer

November 29, 2012

It was 8:30 Thanksgiving night when my phone woke me from a lovely nap on my parent’s couch. My 16-year-old sister was in line at our local Target waiting for the doors to open. Bundle of smiles I am when I wake up, I shot back something snarky and sarcastic about waiting in lines for no good reason. As I tried to fall back asleep, I couldn’t help but ponder my own question. I decided I would go out at midnight and see what the fuss was all about.

Mistake number one was thinking that my 16-year-old sister could be onto something. Mistake two was abandoning my warm nest to venture out into Black Friday chaos. Parking lots under dark black skies glittered with cars. Fluorescently lit stores were jam packed with pushy caffeinated groups (mistake 3: going out alone) and not a lot of great sales.

Kohl’s had a line that snaked around ¾ of the store. Everyone wanted all the sort-of bargains, and I’m pretty sure they were prepared to shed blood over it. Being all of 5’ nothing and about 3 lbs soaking wet, it was a near death experience.

I went, I saw, I survived, but I’m not entirely sure I conquered. I came out of the whole thing with some new stuff, but I didn’t save that much money. And stacked up against the expenditure of time and risk of life and limb, I can’t say the whole traumatic ordeal was worth it.

Whose bad idea was Black Friday? We have Thanksgiving and decide that we are just thankful enough that we’re compelled to put ourselves in debt to acquire material things to be thankful for next year. I get that Christmas is “right around the corner,” but if everyone can fit their shopping in on one stupid day anyway, why can’t we spread it out a little (and save a couple broken noses and toes)?

The day after Thanksgiving should be Sleep and Eat Leftovers Day. Holiday shoppers can have every other day until Christmas. If stores have the deals, the shoppers will come. Not to mention coordinating sales on different days, in my opinion, would bring in more people than a giant bum rush that forces customers to choose one store over another. I get the competing-for-customers angle, but I think most people would spend more money if they could get to more stores (as opposed to the idea that any one store might lose business by having sales on different days from each other).

The concept of Black Friday is senseless. However, consumerism is alive and strong, so I doubt I’ll see my dreams of a Black Friday-less America come true anytime soon. Sales are better after Christmas. I think I’ll start giving New Year’s Eve presents instead.

Sarah Eckrich is a sophomore majoring in English Writing with a minor in Environmental Studies. She can be reached at seckrich@lhup.edu.

 
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