By Chris Karenbauer
It’s nearly midnight after you ate your hearty Thanksgiving meal. Bundled up in a big winter coat, you have been standing in the Kohl’s line for three hours. The only things you want are a new memory foam pillow and a couple toys at a discounted price. As the store doors open and people trample you to be the first inside, you wonder, “Who on earth decided Black Friday shopping is a good idea?”
Like many terrible ideas, such as the Eagles and “Pretty Little Liars”, Black Friday began in Philadelphia because nothing says “The City of Brotherly Love” like fighting strangers for a Nintendo Switch for your 12-year-old son. But I digress. Since the 1950’s, stores have opened their doors to customers Friday morning, promising big deals, and it’s a good time for shoppers to begin their Christmas shopping.
According to CNN Money, shopkeepers coined the term “Black Friday” to describe the mayhem shoppers brought to their stores in their attempt to snatch those savings. Now, retailers embrace the term and advertise special Black Friday sales.
As many die-hard shoppers know, Black Friday is no longer just on Friday. Some stores open their doors as early as Thursday evening, and sales run through Monday. Around 2005, stores offered online sales on Monday, called “Cyber Monday.” In 2020, Amazon dominated Cyber Monday with 40.4% of the market share, followed by Walmart with 5.1%.
During the year of the dreaded pandemic (2020), Cyber Monday revenue shot from $7.9 billion in 2019 to well over $9 billion in 2020. Thirty percent of the shoppers who usually go Black Friday shopping planned to shop on Cyber Monday rather than Black Friday.
Based on these statistics, I’m working with the assumption that most post-pandemic shoppers are like me. They would rather do their Christmas shopping online in the comforts of their homes than stand in line all night to get trampled by a bunch of people.
I find it ironic that Black Friday falls the day after Thanksgiving. The idea of Thanksgiving is self-explanatory. We give thanks for the things we have: our family, our friends, our worldly possessions. But an hour later, we fight our way to the front of the line of a retailer to grab those big savings.
“It’s the day where people from all over the country will wait in long lines, perhaps even camp out, in order to score the best deals possible on anything from a toaster to a big screen TV,” wrote Florida Today writer Mike Ronsisvalle.
I ask myself every time I go Black Friday shopping, “Why is it the day after Thanksgiving?”
I think it’s because Christmas is about a month away, and it’s a good time to start Christmas shopping. But, even if you are Christmas shopping, Christmas is a time of giving. So, why are customers throwing punches at other people for items that have “mega discounts”?
We’ve all seen those Black Friday horror videos on Facebook and YouTube or read articles on Reddit of retailers recounting their terrible experiences. One former Gamestop employee recalls when the Nintendo Wii came out in 2006 to Business Insider. As soon as Gamestop opened their doors, people flooded into the store to grab a Wii. If a customer got one, someone else threw them on the ground and took it.
I’ve heard of other instances of old ladies fighting over George Foreman grills, people hiding sale items the day before, and customers yelling at employees if a product is out of stock. Black Friday is truly a nightmare – come to think about it, I think Black Friday should fall after Halloween. And to think that people were celebrating Thanksgiving mere hours before.
I won’t say that Thanksgiving doesn’t have its own horrors with those in-laws visiting, but the idea is to be grateful for everything you have. The next holiday, Christmas, is all about giving. Those meanings of Thanksgiving and Christmas go down the drain during Black Friday.
But seriously, why not move Black Friday to the day after Halloween? It’s all about the macabre and scary things, and nothing is scarier than Karen yelling that you looked at her target sale item the wrong way. Besides, you would have two months to do your Christmas shopping, except for your older brother who procrastinates until Christmas Eve to do all his Christmas shopping.
This Black Friday, remember to show “brotherly love” to all those poor souls who decided to camp outside Kohl’s to buy a memory foam pillow at 50% off by not screaming at them that they stole the last pillow in the bin. It’s just a pillow. Let’s also advocate to move Black Friday to the day after Halloween so that the kids can run over each other for candy, and you can run over Karen for that Nintendo Switch.
Image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net
Chris Karenbauer is a senior Journalism major and the Editor-in-Chief for Cedars. She enjoys reading and writing, hanging out with friends and listening to music.