Black Friday feeds into consumerism, loses Thanksgiving spirit

By Duke Staff

11/15/17

For most, the last Thursday of November is a time for food, relaxation and giving thanks. Recently, however, the idea and practice of Thanksgiving has been diluted by Black Friday.

For years, Black Friday has come earlier and earlier, encroaching on the holiday we’re truly trying to celebrate. For many reasons, this is problematic. On the one hand, it takes away from the idea of giving thanks, promoting people running out before their turkey has even been digested in order to wait in a line for hours to buy a TV.

On the other, it becomes a problem for those who have to work on Thanksgiving evening. These retail workers have to cut the time spent with their family short, a thing that didn’t happen when Black Friday was only on Friday.

Now don’t get this argument wrong: It is not the entirety of Black Friday that is a problem. For many families, the deals they get on this day make the difference between having presents under the Christmas tree and not. The problem is when Black Friday starts on Thursday.

But shopping early is no longer needed. Depending on what specifically you’re looking for, you might be able to find even better deals later in December, or – even more convenient – you might find the same deals online and never even have to get out of bed.

The question also becomes one of how much these companies are even making by opening at 6 p.m. on Thursday as opposed to 1 a.m. on Friday.

Many companies have begun boycotting the idea of Black Friday all together. REI, for example, started a movement called “#optoutside” and will be closing all 143 stores this Nov. 24 as well as paying its employees to spend the day outside. They encourage other people to also “opt outside” on Black Friday and to show that they have by tweeting photos of themselves spending time outdoors using the movement’s hashtag.

It is understandable, especially for college students, that Black Friday is an important day, as we are all shopping on a budget. But instead of cutting short the dinner your family worked all day on, consider waiting a few more hours to go shop. Part of the fun of Black Friday is getting up at 3 a.m. to go to the mall, anyway, whereas going at 6 p.m. Thursday evening is nothing special at all.

But if you do decide to go out and wield the deals in the late evening on Thanksgiving, please remember the people who left their families in order to ring you out at Best Buy, and, in general, just be kind. There is never a reason to punch someone over some lotion in Bath & Body Works.

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