Thankfulness: a joke

Laura Lothrop

Black Friday has corrupted our society


What does it mean to be thankful in a society infatuated by materialism?

Black Friday is the first official day where is it appropriate to go spend hoards of cash on meaningless gifts, for the special people in our lives. How passive have we become to be comfortable in this tradition of gluttony in our society?

We spend an entire day sitting around a table claiming to be thankful for all that we have, while simultaneously plotting the stores that we plan to camp outside of.

Getting a great deal on a television or a sweater is not wrong. It becomes wrong when we turn every major holiday into a spending battle to see who can load up on the most goodies, and extort sacred holidays for capitalistic schemes.

Black Friday sales have seemingly been occurring earlier and earlier every year, starting at midnight on Thursday. Each year evolves into a crazier dash through stores, just to reach that one electric toothbrush that claims to be 60 percent off.

Black Friday sales are broadcasted the entire week leading up to Thanksgiving, foreshadowing a toxic draining of funds. More importantly, wholesome family time is lost, stripped away because our culture cannot stop worshiping products and the chance to acquire more.

People have died on Black Friday because they were trampled to death by eager shoppers that refused to stop and help them up. What does this say about the societal greed that exists in our lives and how our priorities and motives have damaging effects on those around us?

According to Black Friday Death Count, 10 people have died on Black Friday, and 111 have been injured.

A pre-holiday survey this year by the National Retail Federation found that an estimated 135.8 million Americans definitely plan to shop over the Thanksgiving weekend (58.7 percent of those surveyed), though even more (183.8 million, or 79.6 percent) said they would or might take advantage of the online deals offered on Cyber Monday.

Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Macy’s will open up in the afternoon on Thursday while people finish up their family meal, anticipating a profitable day similar to the $7.9 billion that U.S. retailers earned in 2017, according to Adobe Analytics.

It is worth noting that some retailers break away from the mad midnight store busters; Nordstrom and T.J. Maxx opt to keep their doors closed until early morning on Friday. REI is one of the few retailers that actually stays closed on Black Friday, sending the message to employees and shoppers that their time is better spent with family.

Around 30 percent of annual retail sales take place between Black Friday and Christmas, which would explain the massive wave of advertisements leading up to Thanksgiving all the way until the New Year.

It is not wrong to want a better deal for an outrageously priced pair of shoes. However, it is ironic and sick that our country glorifies the accumulation of things so much that we pull an all-nighter hours after we have sat around the dinner table sharing what we are most thankful for.

Some may argue that Black Friday is the only affordable way that they can get Christmas presents for loved ones, therefore validating their rationale behind the Black Friday absurdity.

Well, would encourage others to sit down with your family and tell them that gift giving, the expectations, the expenses, the crazy shopping and deal hunting, has taken away from the overall intended joy of the holidays.

If you can’t afford to buy things for your family without Black Friday, ask yourself why you are spending extensive amounts of money in the first place? Is that really the most important love language in your household?

Maybe you should cut down on the quantity of gifts you buy. Plan a trip to the mountains, go sledding, go to Zoo Lights, The Lights of Christmas, bake some cookies and really, actually, talk about what you are thankful for.

We all want to spoil our loved ones, but there comes a point when the desire to spoil becomes a pressure, and an obligation, and showy contest of worth based in the gifts we buy.

America is centered around a consumerist culture of guilt to make us spend more money. If we didn’t have these assumptions and pressures that we needed to spend money to show our love, no one would risk a stampede for a brand new TV.

After all the gluttonous spending, consider what are you truly left with during the holiday season. What do we gain by giving up so much of our energy to things that will waste away in a season?