Thanksgiving Without the Thanks: Has Black Friday Taken Over?
by Christy Walters and Michelle Boring
Do you remember a time when you could walk through the mall on Halloween without hearing Christmas music or seeing wreaths hanging from the ceiling? Do you remember that holiday between Halloween and Christmas? You know, the one that everyone sat around the table and ate turkey and talked about the things they were thankful for?
It’s called Thanksgiving. It’s a day when we should come together with our families and friends to be thankful, just thankful. Presents aren’t involved in this holiday, which is probably why it’s going out of style. There’s nothing to gain from it. It’s a day to sit down and think about the abundance of food we have, the blessings in our lives, and the people that are forever there for us. It shouldn’t be a day for shopping or making plans to hit all the best places for the best deals.
Black Friday is the day that comes after Thanksgiving, when every single crazy and cheap person comes out and descends upon the mall, Walmart, or any other store offering crap at a decent price. Black Friday is a day of retail hell, and it seems to get earlier every year.
A few years ago, you could go shopping the week before Thanksgiving and see a sign in the store saying it would be open at 6 a.m. on Black Friday for all your Christmas-shopping needs. Then it was 3 a.m. Two years ago, the mall opened at midnight. You could stand upstairs in the mall, feel the floor shake, and hear the girls scream when they were let into Victoria’s Secret a couple dozen at a time to prevent a stampede.
Last year, Black Friday crept into Thanksgiving when the mall opened at 8 p.m. As families finished cleaning up the kitchen from a day of feasting, retail employees put on their uniforms and went to work.
This year, the mall is opening at 6 p.m. Some places will be open all day on Thanksgiving.
We have a hard time dealing with Black Friday’s starting on Thursday. Why can’t Black Friday just start on Friday? It has the Friday right in the name, so why does it have to encroach on Thanksgiving? Well, we are greedy.
Corporations are greedy, because they force employees away from their holiday, family, and sleep to get more money. Walmart staggers deals throughout the day to keep people constantly shopping. The mall opens earlier every year to give you a few more hours to shop, and some malls fine stores that don’t open.
Consumers are greedy, because they buy into what the corporations want. People wake up at all hours of the night or leave Thanksgiving dinner to crowd storefronts and trample each other for toys, electronics, and yoga pants. Are we that materialistic? What happened to the idea that the thought and effort put into a gift are more important?
Don’t get us wrong, we don’t mind Black Friday. Honestly, we don’t. We like when stores are busy. It’s good for the economy. We like the excitement and holiday joy. We like seeing people who wear matching shirts, making them look foolish, or shop with greasy hair at three in the morning. We like watching people walk around the mall, drawn down by bags full of GOLDTOE socks, clock radios, remote-control cars, spiced nuts. We like listening to people tell us about their “great deals.”
Are they really deals?
We understand that prices are lower on this one day than they will be the rest of the year, supposedly. For a lot of stores, most of the “deals” are actually on overstocked items. That sweater you got Uncle Bobby was probably only 10 dollars because it was cheap to make and the store was worried about marking them down after Christmas. That camera you saved 100 dollars on was probably getting a new version in the New Year and there were a bunch left. Some stores even inflate prices or create buy-one-get-one (B.O.G.O.) deals to make the consumer think they are saving money. B.O.G.O.s almost always get the consumer to spend more. There are usually better deals throughout the year than on Black Friday.
We’d like to challenge Pitt-Greensburg students to do two things.
First off, don’t take part in Black Friday this year, at least not on Thanksgiving Day. If you’re not working, spend Thanksgiving with your family or friends. If you’re really hard up for company, spend some time with the 10 Thanksgiving episodes of the TV show Friends.
Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep in. You don’t really need four new pairs of Yoga pants. Make some cinnamon rolls. Spend your day at home putting up the tree. Do something at home with the people you enjoy.
Hey, just remember, there’s always Cyber Monday.
Christy challenged you not to participate in Black Friday this year, but I get it. You don’t have any shopping done yet.
Here’s my challenge: put some thought into your gifts next year and shop throughout the year. When you’re out shopping, if you stumble upon something that reminds you of someone, buy it.
Maybe you’ll find something perfect. Maybe it will be on sale. Maybe your gifts won’t get returned the day after Christmas.
Get a big Rubbermaid bin and put everything you buy in it. Shop though the spring and summer, and I promise you’ll be done before Thanksgiving. You won’t have to worry about rushing to get Christmas shopping done or saving money. Actually, you’ll have more money at Christmas to spend on doing things with friends or family.
Show them you care next year by buying them something they will actually like and use, instead of another cruddy sweater that ends up at the back of the closet.
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