With Thanksgiving just a few days away, people are probably getting pretty excited – for some time off of work and school, delicious food (and lots of it), football, and an early start on some Christmas gift shopping. Black Friday is just around the corner, coming with the promise of good deals, long check-out lines, huge crowds, and possibly injuries and violence. Spending less money is a good thing, but at what point will we stop and wonder if it is worth the Black Friday chaos?
Black Friday has been a part of American holiday culture since the early 1920s, ever since there has been a sense of a holiday shopping season. But it has gotten more and more intense over the years. People get pretty excited when they find out they can get cheaper toys, TVs, video games, and appliances. They will get up in the middle of the night to stand in the cold in long lines outside of stores waiting for them to open. And there is nothing wrong with wanting to get in on some good deals. Some people just go “shopping” on Black Friday to watch the other people fight over stuff.
I have gone Black Friday shopping before and it was a lot of fun. My problem with the day comes when stores get so competitive that they start opening earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving Day. This day should be a day of relaxation, spent with family and being grateful for the things that we have, not making a list of all of the things we don’t have. People are going to get up from their Thanksgiving feasts with their families and go get in crazy lines to buy stuff rather than enjoying the holiday.
Another problem I have with Black Friday is that people are getting more concerned with stuff than with the well-being of other people. Materials are just things. They are going to break or be stolen or get old and out of style and eventually lose their value. The “must have” electronic or clothing style will be replaced soon enough. But people are always going to be around and they are infinitely more valuable than any object. That’s why it should be appalling to us that people are getting trampled (to the point of death!) and even directly attacked by other people who want to get ahead of them or who want something that they have. That is completely wrong.
So if you want to get your mother something nice for Christmas, you need to replace a broken appliance, or you just want to shop around for fun on Black Friday, go for it. Just make sure that you spend time resting, talking with your family, giving thanks and enjoying the holiday first. And stop and let the old woman in front of you get in the door instead of stepping on her to get ahead. The items will still be there when you get inside (probably). Just stop to remember what is really important. Happy Thanksgiving!