by Erin Kayata
Warm, roasted turkey, a plethora of home made food, family and friends all around, football, and a chance to be grateful for what you have. Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving? It’s difficult to see why anyone wouldn’t look forward to a holiday that involves a plethora of scrumptious food, family gatherings, and appreciating everything we have. As we take a day to celebrate, however, a dark cloud looms overhead. While almost everyone looks forward to the holiday, some have come to dread it due to its successor: Black Friday.
According to blackfriday.com, this shopping frenzy began in 1924, around the time of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Police in Philadelphia first coined the term in the 1960’s, to describe the chaos that came the day following Thanksgiving. For many, this day marks the true beginning of the holiday season, and is a day for scoring the best deals on gifts.
The day is perceived differently from a retail employee’s perspective. This Friday will be my third consecutive year working Black Friday. While I have not yet had the pleasure of working the midnight shift, I’ve still seen the down side of this post holiday frenzy. People begin arriving at stores hours before they open, cutting into their Thanksgiving, in hopes of getting a good parking space. They fight their way into stores and spend the day running around, hunting for the best deals. And all for a few sales. In fact, the store I work at didn’t even start their Black Friday sale until that Saturday.
It’s easy to see why some people get caught up in the idea of Black Friday sales. Advertisers do an excellent job appealing to the public eye and creating a hype around sales. However, Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate what we do have (and I do not mean material goods). Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for all the joy in our lives, the kind that comes from those around us. By turning the day after Thanksgiving into a shopping frenzy, we are losing that focus. Millions of people spend Black Friday fighting for a parking space, waiting in lines, and hunting for the best deal, but take a second to as yourself: is this what you really want to be spending your holiday doing?
My employment at a retail store is all it took for me to see the real black side of Black Friday. It is easy to get caught up in all the materialism of the day. Who doesn’t want to get the best deal on holiday gifts that their friends and family will love? I think Americans need to reevaluate their holiday priorities. While getting gifts for everyone you love is an amazing feeling, those hours you spend in line and in stores could be spent enjoying time with those loved ones. And there is really nothing more valuable than that.