By Justin Robertson
As the holiday season approaches, millions of people around the United States begin to conduct their gift shopping. Many of these people take advantage of the annual day of chaotic sales known as Black Friday. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, stores provide customers with a unique opportunity to buy high end products for exceptional prices. These phenomenal sales are great for customers trying to save money, but the anarchy that occurs is not worth saving a couple hundred dollars.
Originally used to describe the disruptive traffic on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday is now a commercial holiday that allows retailers to make a substantial profit. Retailers will put high-end products on sale in order to draw in millions of customers. These sales limit the profit made for each individual purchase, but the low prices motivate an abundance of consumers, which makes up for it. As Glenelg Junior and frequent Black Friday shopper, Mohith Konduru says, “There are great deals for certain items that you may never find year around.” This tactic used by stores seems to work, as according to Kimberly Amadeo (writer for thebalance.com), “In total, 137 million people went to stores over the four-day Black Friday weekend [in 2017].” Citizens being able to buy merchandise that they want is often viewed as a positive of America’s society, yet we seem to put more of an emphasis on this shopping event than the holidays. Out of the 137 million people, 29 million shopped on Thanksgiving day, an alarming statistic.
Thanksgiving is supposed to be about being thankful and appreciating life, but for the 29 million people that shopped on Thanksgiving day last year, getting the best deals seemed to be more important than celebrating the holiday. Instead of forcing employees to work on a federal holiday, stores should at least wait until the following Friday morning to allow the mobs of customers to enter their establishments.
Whenever money is involved in a situation, conflicts often pop up, and Black Friday is no exception. Shoppers are determined to save the most money possible, which can cause fights, arguments, and even deaths. When Glenelg Junior Kabir Satija went Black Friday shopping two years ago he says he saw “a guy’s face bleeding when he got punched for a TV.” Violence like this is a common sight on Black Friday weekend. This year on Thanksgiving, tragedy struck in Alabama, when a gunman open fired at the Riverchase Galleria Mall, injuring two people. This catastrophe may have been avoided if establishments had stricter restrictions for Black Friday.
Black Friday is not only a distraction from the holidays, but also a danger to people. An effective solution to this problem would to be get rid of Black Friday entirely, however this solution is unlikely to transpire. Thus, stores need to allow employees to stay home and enjoy Thanksgiving, and wait until the next day to conduct business. Additionally, more precautions, such as security guards or orderly lines, need to be implemented to ensure shoppers and employees’ safety. These changes could also be applied to the days leading up to Christmas and New Years, as those days are often frantic and chaotic. Black Friday may allow some to save money, but if changes are not made soon, more events like the one in Riverchase are bound to ensue.