Going outside on the day after Thanksgiving usually fills me with apprehension. I’m not comfortable in big crowds, especially when everyone is trying to get to that one deal before everyone else. Black Friday always starts the Christmas shopping season off with a bang, featuring ridiculously long lines, stampedes, shoving, threats and brawls for the last waffle maker that is 50 percent off. It’s just another part of American culture that confuses a poor uninformed immigrant like myself. So I did my research, watched the footage and I can conclude that going shopping on Black Friday is an absolute waste of time.
First of all, the origin of Black Friday is different from what most people think. The common myth is that the day after Thanksgiving was the first day of the year when many retail chains finally made a profit. Because accountants used to record debt in red ink and profit in black, the term “in the black” is believed to be the reason for Black Friday’s name.
The truth, however, is not based on retail at all. It started in the Philadelphia Police Department in the 1960s when the annual Army – Navy football game was held the day after Thanksgiving, creating traffic, huge crowds, and an overall awful day for a Philadelphia cop. The department started calling it “Black Friday” to give it a bad connotation and hopefully get people to stay home. Unfortunately, this didn’t work. Instead, retail companies resurrected the term, connecting it to the day when the best sales took place. The whole point of the name was to stop the madness, yet every year people do the same exact thing those poor cops were trying to prevent.
Another thing to consider is that people have been injured or killed as a result of violence on Black Friday. There is even a website devoted to counting the number of people who have died or been injured because of Black Friday between 2006 and 2014. So far, seven people have died and 98 people have sustained injuries. People are extremely inconsiderate when trying to get a good deal. When a man collapsed in a West Virginia Target in 2011, other customers simply stepped over him, letting him die.
There has even been deliberate violence. Retail workers have been trampled, one killed by stampedes of people. Customers have been stabbed in parking lots over a parking space or shot inside of a store. People have been attacked with pepper spray and fists, hit by cars and been deliberately thrown to the ground. One brawl over a bargain sent an 11-year-old child to the hospital. It makes me wonder why people go out on that day at all.
Despite the deals, the final product is not worth it. The footage of stores opening their doors, while hilarious, is quite horrifying. People run into the store, grabbing whatever they can find without really looking at it just because they’re concerned they might need it and don’t want anyone else to get it first. A person who got everything they could possibly fit in their cart or arms might be running to the checkout counter with things they don’t really need or don’t want to give away to anyone.
I have seen people fight over toasters, toys, dolls, stuffed animals, balloons, batteries and so many other things that are not really that expensive anyway and can be bought just as easily for a similar price during any other sale or online. Amazon announced recently that they would be participating in Black Friday Sales and their prices are usually lower than those in-store anyway. A shopper could get what they want by searching it up right away, while avoiding everything that is unpleasant and dangerous.
To those who actually joined in with the crowd on Black Friday, congratulations on the new, probably unnecessary stuff. I bought the presents for my family and friends on Cyber Monday from the safety and comfort of my own home.