OPINION: The problems with Black Friday

After everyone has said their yearly thanks, eaten turkey and cleaned up the kitchen, they’re grabbing the sale ads and the car keys.

American culture does not waste a second in the transition between Thanksgiving and Christmas with the first shopping day of the holiday season that is almost a holiday of its ownーBlack Friday.

Black Friday is becoming too prominent of a day during the holiday season. It has become violent and has promoted consumerism, which has led to overspending and impulsive purchases. 

102 million Americans shopped in stores on Black Friday weekend last year, with the average person spending $299.60 each, according to The Balance.

Consumerism causes shoppers to unwisely buy the things that they think that society wants them to buy and own. People are more likely to buy the hottest products of the moment, even though they may not be promising investments. For example, it has become a worldwide trend to have an iPhone.

Consumerism has played a role in answering the question of “what do I need to be happy?” This also relates to the American way of a material-driven life.

Black Friday has become violent by promoting competitiveness among shoppers.

Many stores open their doors as ridiculously early as midnight to accommodate for all of the early birds scavenging for good deals. Some deals begin as early as 6 or 7 on Thanksgiving evening, and extend as late as Cyber Monday. 

With stores opening early, the competitiveness among shoppers comes out. In Black Friday advertisements, spokespeople often repeat the phrases “come and get it before we run out,” or similar slogans. This advertising tactic is known as promotion. They want their customers to get excited for their sales and they want their customers to believe that their supplies are limited.

Overspending is common among people who participate in Black Friday because they impulsively buy things that they don’t need when the deals seem attractive. 

Some Black Friday “deals” are not even that exclusive, according to U.S. News.  As many as 14 percent of products will have the same or similar prices at other times of the year.

Online shopping has made Black Friday more dangerous in recent years because people like the idea of staying home, avoiding the crowd and shopping more easily. Fortune found that American online shoppers spent a total of $4.5 billion on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. 

Spending the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas to thoughtfully shop for gifts may be a better idea, as people can make fewer impulsive decisions.

Thanksgiving is supposed to be about being thankful for what one has, but Black Friday overshadows this important value with the illusory obligation of the pursuit of material goods.

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Olivia Dawson is a staffer on RedEye this year. She enjoys discovering new music and casually following sports. Olivia is passionate about writing and politics and plans to build a career with her interests.