Black Friday: The Philosophy of Gift Giving on Crack

***This is a post from last semester written by Angelia Powers that I consider to be good***

As Halloween comes to an end, we must make way for the next major holiday in the rotation: Thanksgiving. But, I am not here to talk about that holiday (which I’m sure will be written about many times over in the coming weeks), I’m focusing on the buffer between Thanksgiving and Christmas: Black Friday. As a retail worker, I am dreading going home for Thanksgiving break because I will have to work incredibly long hours early in the morning to meet the standards of what I think is a commercial consumerist disaster of a day. In the spirit of gift giving, we are coerced into finding the best deal available, and search store after store looking for the best value possible. Black Friday has turned into a capitalist monster that has consumed the “appreciating what we have” nature of Thanksgiving.

The “shopper’s holiday” gets its name from retailers beginning to turn a profit again in the Christmas shopping season. The craziness really started to gain footing around 2011 when stores like Target and Best Buy opened at 12am, and Walmart even opened at 8pm on Thanksgiving, pushing other stores to open at 6 or even 5pm. Violence among shoppers and violations of parking and other laws are a common reoccurrence. The frenzy to get the last flat screen TV or Princess Unicorn Doll is too much for some and can result in hospitalization. Gift giving has become less of a way to show people how much we care and turned into a war reparation. It has become a competition between who can run the fastest.

And in the middle of all this are the employees. Those people have to give up their holiday and work at Kmart from 6am on Thanksgiving morning (no seriously, and those sales flopped anyway). Is it ethical to keep a worker for longer hours than necessary to tame the beast of Christmas shopping? All so that corporations can keep funneling money into their accounts at the expense of middle class mom and dad struggling to get their kids everything they want. By no means will Black Friday cease to exist in the coming future, because I can certainly attest to my Christmases being incomplete without monster deals left and right. Just tone it down a little, corporate America. The sound of giving thanks is being drowned out by your cry for profit.

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