It’s the day after Thanksgiving and the news is full of shocking stories of reckless shoppers. Pepper spray, fist-fights and other violent acts break out as deal-seekers battle to get the best deals. This tradition of major retail-stores dropping their prices for one day began in the early 2000s, and since 2005, Black Friday has become one of the busiest and most violent shopping days of the year, and it should be stopped.
While many people enjoy this opportunity to buy Christmas gifts for great deals, Black Friday brings out the worst in people. In 2008, a Wal-Mart employee was killed as eager shoppers stampeded through the door and trampled him. Pepper spray has been used to cut people in line and stabbings have occurred over parking spaces. The moral line is blurred by the craving for material goods. In addition to violent fights between shoppers, many car accidents have occurred. In 2013, a teen coming home from Black Friday fell asleep at the wheel and was killed in a wreck. According to the website, Black Friday Death Count, seven people have died due to this tradition and 98 people have been injured. Just the fact that there is a death count for this day of sales should tell us that it needs to be stopped. At what point do we say enough is enough?
Not only does Black Friday create a hostile environment, it also makes many retail-workers clock-in at abnormal hours. Some stores, such as Wal-Mart, open at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving while others open at midnight. With stores opening earlier and earlier each year, shoppers and workers are losing quality family time. Some people camp out in front of stores a day or two in advance to secure a spot in line. To these shoppers, Thanksgiving just becomes the day before Black Friday and nothing more.
On Black Friday, people buy things just because they are on sale. This causes many shoppers to spend more money on Black Friday than they would spend on any other regular day. The deals that people encounter are “too good of a bargain” to pass up, so they buy things they don’t need.
The irony of having a day of excessive spending following a day of gratitude like Thanksgiving, is laughable. We already spend too much time thinking about what we could have and what we want to have, when we should take a step back and realize how lucky we are. Thanksgiving should be spent with family and friends, not with sleep-deprived, insane shoppers who are willing to pepper-spray you over a pair of sneakers.