Many retailers have begun opening on Thanksgiving to increase profits.
(Photo by Michael Hayes/The Ram)
At around 7:45 p.m. last Thursday, I was getting ready to sit down and have the long-awaited Thanksgiving dinner with my family. After all the food was at the table and the prayer had been said, I was putting the first spoonful of soup up to my mouth when the clock struck 8 p.m.
For me, 8 p.m. meant turning on the television and watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. For many Americans, however, 8 p.m. meant waiting for the doors to open at Macy’s, Target or Wal-Mart for Black Friday.
Instead of celebrating Thanksgiving at home, more Americans than ever are opting to skip Thanksgiving dinner and camp out in front of huge department stores with crowds of strangers who will do anything — and I mean anything — to get their hands on a flat-screen TV. The newest trend is stores opening earlier than midnight.
This is what has become of one of the greatest and most sacred American holidays. It has been disgraced and disrespected because of the greedy Americans who would rather spend hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on clothes, toys and electronic devices than spend time with their loved ones.
Every year is the same: swarms of people walking shoulder to shoulder inside malls, waiting in long lines, carrying too many bags and lunging at the merchandise on shelves and racks. Assaults, fights, injuries and even deaths are also familiar scenes. In fact, one person died and 15 people were injured this year.
I have never been a Black Friday shopper, mostly because I feel like it would be a suicide mission to go up against hardcore Black Friday veterans. The closest I came to Black Friday shopping was two years ago when my cousin and her husband visited the United States for the first time. We were going to go to the Macy’s located a few blocks away from my home at 11p.m. on Thanksgiving night. However, we never made it because we fell asleep. The next day, actual Black Friday, we went into the city and caught a first-hand glimpse of the chaos inside many stores. I was appalled. I vowed to never become a crazed Black Friday shopper.
There was a lot of hype behind this year’s Black Friday in particular, but retailers were disappointed when the figures came in after the long weekend. Sales were expected to rise 3.9 percent from last year, but failed to do so. Black Friday sales did not hold up compared to last year, and fell 13.2 percent, the first spending decline since 2009. Despite the fact that more stores opened earlier this year, shopper traffic still managed to fall 11.4 percent from 2012.
Opening stores early seems to have failed. According to Survey Analytics and Ipsos Loyalty, 55 percent of shoppers feel that stores should remain closed on Thanksgiving Day. While I agree that opening stores on Thanksgiving is a tactic to stimulate the economy, it should not be a reason for Americans to prioritize capitalism and make Thanksgiving traditions secondary.
Nothing can replace a tradition as honored as Thanksgiving, so do not patronize the new, ridiculous practice of what has become Black Thursday Night.
Next Thanksgiving, when you are at the dinner table, be sure to give thanks for family, friends, health and anything else you are grateful for. Do not thank department stores for huge discounts, bargains and holiday deals. Black Friday is not the only day when they have sales or clearance events.
If you really want to shop on Black Friday, at least wait until Friday.
Andrew Santis, GSB ’16, is an undeclared business major from Flushing, N.Y.