The irony of Black Friday


Thanksgiving break is almost here, and I’m so looking forward to spend- ing it with family, friends and the year’s best food. The fourth Thursday of the month, Thanksgiving, is a na- tional holiday that celebrates gratitude among Americans. Black Friday is an informal, but widely celebrated holiday amongst Americans the day following Thanksgiving.

Isn’t it weird that we spend an entire day devoted to being thankful for ev- erything we have, but then completely forget about all of that when midnight rolls around? Black Friday is a tradition Americans holds so dear to their hearts that some people are even willing to camp outside department stores the night prior to the doors opening. It feels as though Black Friday comes ear- lier and earlier each year. Nowadays, department stores will open their doors on Thanksgiving night.

Some holiday traditions my family and I have include: taking turns mak- ing whipped cream by hand, switch- ing name tags around on the dinner tables, taking a nap after the hefty meal, taking a walk down to the beach afterwards and then wrapping up the night with a sing along in the living room. I have extended family members that leave our Thanksgiving gathering before a lot of these traditions even happen to ‘prep’ for the following day’s events. Instead of spending much needed, quality family time with one another, they disperse right after dinner. A part of me can understand wanting to buy early Christmas gifts at a marked down price, but leaving the family party to go do so? At what price does that come?

Black Friday, as it is explained on Urban Dictionary states, ‘only in Amer-ica do we trample and fight others forgood sales, exactly one day after being thankful for what we already have.’ While Thanksgiving is a time of selfreflection where we are able to thinkback on how lucky we are to have all that we do, Black Friday somehow always creeps up on us the next day.

At its very core, a grassroots exam- ple of consumerism is an obsession with shopping and acquiring stuff. As Americans, we are viewed by many as very materialistic people, and the celebration of this tradition only feeds into that idea.

Are Americans losing sight of what the true meaning of Thanksgiving is by overindulging on Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

In 2016, 101.7 million people left their homes to brave the crowds on Black Friday, and 29 million of those people left their houses on Thanks- giving Day. These numbers don’t even take into account Cyber Monday shoppers. According to Adobe Digital Insights, online shoppers spent $6.6 billion on Cyber Monday in 2017.

I am appalled and quite frankly, upset, to witness Americans not valu- ing the meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday. What will it take to end our commercially driven society? Is there an end to our consumerist nation? Will you encourage our fellow citizens to spend the holidays with family and celebrate our gratitude as we were meant to?
While many people do enjoy the excitement surrounding Black Friday
/ Cyber Monday, I think we should alltake a step back to reflect on what thistime of year means to us. Instead of thinking about where you can shop the next day to find the best prices, maybe we should all just focus on the meaning of Thanksgiving; a time of year that makes coming home and surrounding ourselves with our families, once again, possible.