Black Friday turning consumers black and blue

Matthew Ahasay, Opinion Editor

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Thanksgiving has always been for gluttons. Over eating and oversimplification of the history of the holiday have been adopted into the American culture, but the message remains the same. Give thanks. Unfortunately the one day a year exclusively set aside for being thankful for family, fortune and country is being encroached upon by mad consumerism.

Black Friday has certainly become a holiday in its own right. The day when businesses go from red to black now has citizens turning each other black and blue. Animalistic tendencies take hold, as doors open while consumers charge stores for the latest electronics and fashions. The consumer holiday even has the police force busy as they try to maintain order and keep casualties low.

While the consumer bum rush is nothing new, this year in order to maximize hype and sales, stores opened their doors as early as 8 pm. Earlier hours means less time for both employees and consumers. Hourly wageworkers at Wal-Mart have even taken a stance this year forming walkouts throughout the country. While the overall effect was lackluster they still earned the publics affection.

The Black Friday craze however isn’t completely negative. Families gather around the ads and make plans for what to get and where. Camping out in front of stores and waiting in gigantic lines provides time for off the cuff conversations and bonding that sitting around and watching a football game doesn’t necessarily provide.

Despite the horror stories of tramplings, shootings, and stabbings, the patrons of Black Friday are for the most part still the same polite Americans that you would encounter on the street. Accidental bodily collisions still receive “sorrys” and etiquette is still prevalent. However, the stress of the largest shopping day of the year is enough to drive anyone mad and atrocities do take place.

America has a lot to be grateful for. Sitting at the top of the food chain is no easy task but a majority of Americans still enjoy a comfortable lifestyle and can participate in the Black Friday free for all.  Contrasting the poor economy Black Friday sales hit an all time high this year and are projected to continue the upward trend.

Giving thanks clearly has been pushed to the backburner this year, and it’s disappointing to say the least. While kudos are owed to certain chain stores that at least waited until midnight before kicking off the madness, the devolution of Thanksgiving is still too high of a price to pay.

As consumerism is on the verge of taking down another holiday as it has with Christmas, we all need to take an introspective glace and reevaluate what is really important. Perhaps it is the newest gadget or the snazziest scarf. Keep in mind just how fickle and easily replacable objects are and how memories and quality time with ones family can span a lifetime and set a precedent for future generations.

Next year instead of lining up and promoting the collapse of an American tradition, perhaps wait until early Friday morning or Small Business Saturday and give back to your family and community.  Your relatives and small business owners will surely be thankful.

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