Black Friday gobbles Thanksgiving spirit


The holiday season is here once again: the time of year where we see our families too much, eat too much, and spend too much money. Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, on Thursday, November 26th. While Thanksgiving is a time-honored traditional holiday, the day after is growing rapidly as it’s own modern holiday: Black Friday. The day is now infamous for it’s insane price markdowns, long lines, and crazed shoppers. But how much shopping is too much shopping? When does Black Friday shopping become too chaotic and too invasive on our sacred Thanksgiving?

My Thanksgivings are far from traditional. I spend most years at the Lions’ games, away from the stereotypical turkey and mashed potatoes. Even being away from the typical turkey and taters, however, I still understand the values of family, grace, and love that are a part of Thanksgiving. I believe that the craze over Black Friday shopping has skewed the meaning of the holiday. It seems as if the dishes are barely cleaned before we abandon our houses to go wait in line for hours to get a great deal on a sweet new TV.

Black Friday has become even dangerous at times. Each year there are stories of injury and even death, with people being trampled by stampedes of shoppers, and fights breaking out. A website, appropriately and morbidly called, has been keeping track of the injuries and deaths, with 7 deaths and 98 injuries occurring in the last 9 years. Assuming those numbers are correct, that is an astonishing number for a day where we are supposed to give thanks.

I have been Black Friday shopping only one time. A few years ago, I went with my mom and brother to the Walmart by our house. I saw a mother with her son punch someone over a TV, which was actually pretty funny to see in person. A lot of the people lose all sense of logic and almost seem to go into survival mode, ready to protect the items in their shopping cart like a bear protects its cubs.

How early is too early? Places all over our area are opening even earlier than usual for Black Friday. Twelve Oaks mall will open at 6 p.m. on Thursday, and it will close at 2 a.m. Friday before reopening at 7 a.m. The Tanger Outlets will also open at 6 p.m. on Thursday and won’t close until 10 p.m. on Friday. What about the employees and their families? They will spend virtually no time together on a holiday where we are supposed to be with our families, and that is a shame.

Black Friday is slowly choking out Thanksgiving. The early time and the overall idea of buying things the day after we are supposed to be giving thanks is ironic. It seems that people are forgetting the true meaning of Thanksgiving when they are more focused on shopping than on being grateful.