While there are some people are gearing up for Thanksgiving and others are jumping straight into Christmas, everybody has been preparing for the infamous third holiday in the middle of all of the nonstop, face-stuffing madness—Black Friday.
As a barista, I’ve gotten to witness the Black Friday craze from behind the counter for the past two years.
Retailers and department stores start running their ads as early as one month before the Friday that makes Thanksgiving “not-so-thankful.”
In years past, stores have started opening their doors to Black Friday deals and door-busters as early as 6 p.m. on Turkey Day, leaving workers with their faces only half-stuffed before they have to jump in their cars to prepare their workplace for the never-ending crowds.
People make a plan, pitch a tent, and, of course, grab their caramel brulée lattes before settling in for the multitudes of hours on a freezing cold sidewalk just to beat that woman in the next isle to that PS4 bundle they’ve had they’re eyes on for the past few weeks.
Having witnessed this chaos from both sides, both behind the counter and in front of it, my question is simple: is all this hustle and bustle really worth it? What do shoppers really gain from camping out in front of a store for forty-eight (or more) hours at a time just to get something a little cheaper right before Christmas?
What’s better? When the same frantic shoppers compare prices on all these products three months, two months, even one month after Christmas is over, and they’re just as cheap (or cheaper) than what they bought them for in the first place.
People talk about Thanksgiving being lost behind the fantastical façade of Christmas, but what about the greed of Black Friday? Do any of the people camping out in front of the local Best Buy think about the fact that those inside the store preparing for the oncoming stampede of shoppers missed spending time with their families to do so?
Some people would argue that you shouldn’t have one day of the year singled out to see your family—take a vacation day.
I wonder how a day that should signify a nation’s beginnings became a competition over a company’s twenty-sixth version of the same video game system.
I suppose that it really isn’t about what day is spent, but the fact that it is spent at all. Thanksgiving is a day of recognition—a day to give thanks for everything and everyone we are privileged enough to have in our lives.
Black Friday holds a lot of hype, but it might be possible that the monopolized madness only gets as much attention as we as a society let it have.
Here’s hoping that I won’t be seeing anyone spending their Thanksgiving holiday standing in line at Starbucks for a peppermint mocha.