After waking up at the crack of dawn, millions of Americans brave excited hordes of people and long lines at big-box stores on Black Friday, one of the busiest—and most highly-anticipated and advertised—shopping days of the year. The day is also one of the most controversial annual events.
Some look forward to the Friday after Thanksgiving as the unofficial beginning of the holiday season, during which they can score massive savings on their Christmas shopping; others, however, worry that the day promotes commercial greed.
Junior Ashley McGregor said that although she loves the great deals, Black Friday can be too hectic to be fully enjoyable.
“All the sales are great, but some people go a little bit too crazy about it,” McGregor said. “It’s a good time to go Christmas shopping.”
Senior Shelby Bush said that Black Friday can pressure shoppers to buy anything that’s on sale, causing them to overspend to waste money.
“Some people, when they go, buy things they usually wouldn’t, just because there’s a good deal,” Bush said.
One of the biggest arguments against Black Friday is that it takes the focus off of Thanksgiving and makes people forget about being grateful for what they already have.
“People go from being so very thankful to being so greedy, and waiting for Thanksgiving to be over so they can go and do their Black Friday shopping,” Bush said.
Senior Haiden Smith said that although he likes the idea of Black Friday, it’s often poorly organized, and stores and shoppers don’t focus on the safety of others.
“Honestly, I would do it, but the way it’s organized makes it one of the most dangerous things I would ever be attending,” Smith said. “I’ve seen a lot of news about people getting trampled at those things.”
Recently, many stores have been opening their doors for Black Friday sales earlier and earlier. Many commercial chains have even begun to open their shops on Thanksgiving day, some as early as 4 or 5 p.m., when many families are still eating dinner.
“It’s called Black Friday, not Black Thanksgiving,” McGregor said. “They’re more focused on shopping, not on spending time with their family on Thanksgiving.”
Senior Joseph Morales works at Walmart, one of the most popular Black Friday stops, for its wide array of products. Morales said that the Warrenton location is already prepping for the rush of holiday shoppers by reorganizing the placement of merchandise throughout the store and on the shelves to maximize space and visibility of popular items.
“They have a whole system that doesn’t change much, but it just started changing too because of the holidays, and they’re trying to accommodate shelf-space,” Morales said.
The popularity of online shopping has inspired many consumers to sit out on Black Friday, opting to wait until Cyber Monday to take advantage of holiday deals.
“The problem with a lot of stores now is that more and more people are doing online shopping,” marketing teacher Tiffany Chappell said. “They probably have all these additional Black Friday deals to try to boost Black Friday sales, because sales are declining on that one day.”
Cyber Monday allows shoppers to avoid the hassles that come with shopping in traditional stores, like crowds and limited inventory. McGregor said she prefers to participate in Cyber Monday because of its convenience.
“Most of the time there will be more selection [online], and you won’t have to deal with all the people in the lines,” McGregor said.
McGregor added that commercialism should begin to focus more on Cyber Monday, because it’s calmer and doesn’t require consumers or store employees stress out too much.
“I think we should into Cyber Monday, because it’s less crazy,” McGregor said. “It would give [workers] a break that they deserve. A lot of people like [Black Friday], so we should move away a little but not completely. It shouldn’t only be Black Friday; if they’re going to do it, they should do it like twice a years so you have two opportunities.”
~katie johnston, managing editor