Consumption has enveloped so much of our mentality, that we no longer cherish time with family over going out to get Black Friday deals and purchasing stuff that we don’t need. How did this tradition even start? In the 1960’s this was started to kick off shopping for the Christmas season. “Black” is used, because when businesses used to keep accounting records by hand, black was a profit while red was a loss. Though this term was officially coined in the 1960’s, since 1924, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season. Retailers found out by discounting prices, they could get customers to come out and spend money early on Friday morning (and now on Thursday night). Every year, it seems that the time that stores open are getting earlier and earlier. It was appalling the year that stores opened at midnight, then actually on Thanksgiving, then even around the time that dinner is usually served! There has been so much negativity with this “holiday” that many stores are boycotting Black Thursday, like REI, Costco, and Nordstrom. There is even a Facebook page that is labeled “Boycott Black Thursday #keepfamilyfirst.”
Not to say that I’m innocent, in the past I have also tried to take advantage of Black Friday deals. But recently, this activity has lost its luster. My mom pointed out to me last year that these “deals” they supposedly have are only on a few key things per store, and everything else is discounted like it normally would be. Granted, this is not the case everywhere. What I am concerned about is how much this actually improved the economy. Yes, holiday shopping overall is the most productive time of the year, but does one day really help that much? And stores don’t necessarily need this spike in revenue. Also, how can people be so brainwashed by $30 less on a TV, toaster, or other “big” appliance, that they don’t want to spend time with their families? There have been injuries and fights and riots over instances that go wrong, so why aren’t we stopping this? Why isn’t the police stopping it, or even the government? Because, for one, the government is funded and largely controlled by big corporations. These corporations, like Walmart and Target, are so big that they can get away with stuff like this. Also, this is what the people want because we are told that we NEED this stuff. We need to keep buying to be on top of trends, to be important, to keep with the times. Another issue is that some retail workers are asked to work on this day, and give up their Thanksgiving as well! There will probably never be a time when all businesses will #keepfamilyfirst, but maybe we need to look internally when we make our own decision about it this year. We can change the fad if we, as a people, want it. If you do feel the urge to give in to consumption, maybe look at local stores and businesses first (and go ON Friday)!
Annelise Wilimitis (Blog 6)