Black Friday elicits crazy deals


On a cold, snowy November afternoon, I type “” into my laptop’s address bar, and I am greeted instantly with large, brightly colored banners advertising “Online Specials,” framed with a little gift-shaped graphic, complete with a bow on top.

Other headlines I see on the site read “Your Black Friday Ad is Here!” and “Holiday Hub: All the tips, tricks, recipes and gift ideas to make your season easy and fun.” Generally, the term “savings” is glued haphazardly onto products ranging from tablets to nauseatingly pink Barbie Dreamhouses.

The day after Thanksgiving — commercially known as Black Friday — holiday shopping season begins, and businesses advertise supposedly tremendous discounts on many of their products. Today’s consumers and corporations seem to honor Black Friday and its familiar customs, spending gargantuan amounts of money on merchandise and advertising to reap the most publicity and benefits out of the event.

It’s almost as if we’ve come to regard Black Friday as its own twisted holiday. For many shoppers, the deals are only part of this monumental day, and sales, only in part, contribute to Black Friday’s sometimes violent, chaotic infamy. It’s the illusion that Black Friday is an essential holiday festivity that drives so many consumers to forego their warm beds, drive to Best Buy and whack an old lady over the head to procure a somewhat-discounted Xbox.

Advertisements might claim that Black Friday is all about the deals, but to many Americans, the event has become an essential holiday tradition, at times ridden with barbaric consumerism.

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    Walmart unquestionably reaps a good deal of Black Friday’s economic benefits. The corporation claims that last Thanksgiving, an estimated 22 million customers made their way to stores to get their fix of “to-die-for” sales. They also receive the most negative attention concerning Black Friday. Stories of shoppers and employees alike being trampled and beat up in the quest for sweet deals have become a staple of the holiday season.

    While it’s ludicrous that such violence has become commonplace in this holiday shopping day (concussions and other injuries incurred in the race to grab the last DVD player off the shelf are not unusual occurrences), I think it speaks to how accepted and vital Black Friday participation has become for many.

    On Nov. 12, Walmart announced their plans to introduce a “New Black Friday” into this year’s holiday season. In the past, Black Friday deals have only been available on late Thanksgiving Thursday and early Friday; however, this year’s Black Friday deals will span across the entire week.

    Trends yielding information with regard to who shops on Black Friday and why lead me to believe that Walmart’s choice to extend Black Friday over the course of the entire Thanksgiving week will only make the issue of barbaric consumerism grow.

    According to a Women’s Wear Daily poll, 57 percent of Black Friday shoppers are showing up to shop simply for the “fun experience.” Now, on what planet and in what mind-set could the bloodthirsty battle over a PS4 ever be conceived of as “fun,” is completely beyond me. However, the fact remains that Black Friday has come to be perceived as a necessary holiday ritual.

    Thus, the fact that deals can just as easily be negotiated either year-round, or from the safe comforts of one’s iPhone days before Black Friday, become irrelevant. In other words, as enthusiastic as consumers may be for the sales, “Black Friday-ers” are in it primarily for the spirit of the consumer season.

    I predict that Walmart’s decision to advertise and conduct Black Friday as a more liberally-paced, longer span of savings opportunities will not alleviate the insane amounts of people that will rush indoors late Thursday night. Advertising continues to play up the alleged personal economic necessity of Black Friday, despite the fact that polls show that more than half of “Black Friday-ers” partake merely for the “fun” experience.

    Walmart’s extension of Black Friday deals over the whole week and into the online realm will likely not help them eliminate the violent, unruly spectacles for which their Black Friday sales days have come infamously to be known.

    Until Americans can realign their priorities and not perceive Thanksgiving weekend as a shopping opportunity extraordinaire, the violent and inappropriate behaviors associated with the event will persist.

    Carly is a junior in FAA. She can be reached at [email protected].