OPINION: Black Friday should be canceled

Luci Schwarz 

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     Five words: Black Friday should be canceled. 

     Sleepy kids sit in shopping carts, struggling to keep their eyes open. It’s midnight and their mother has just thrown a punch at another woman who took the last Nintendo Switch. This is supposed to be fun? 

     I truly have to wonder why this event exists. It’s not a holiday and yet it’s hyped up by businesses so much that it might as well be one. We all know that companies put so much effort into advertising Black Friday because they want to make money.  

     That’s what it’s all about — taking advantage of people who need to get their Christmas shopping done. And yet, knowing all that, their strategy still works. It is mostly mutually beneficial. (If you count getting a $50 laptop and a free black eye as mutually beneficial.) 

     Hordes of people flock to the stores at midnight after having stuffed themselves on Thanksgiving dinner, and prepare to brawl over the best ‘deals.’ 

     Except, let’s be honest with one another, is it really a deal if you have to risk your life for it? Is it worth it, standing in line only to realize that you waited three hours for them to be completely sold out of flat-screen televisions? 

     “Better luck next year,” says the 16-year-old employee who has had zero sleep in the past eighteen hours. If their sleep-deprived selves can manage to say anything at all, that is. 

     Additionally, the mob mentality that comes with Black Friday is dangerous. According to 2014 research from the Journal of the Royal Society, humans follow the crowd. If, for example, there was an emergency evacuation, they would join the rest of the crowd even if they were heading away from the exit signs. 

     I think the fact that a Black Friday Death Count website even exists is a ginormous red flag that this marketing ploy is harmful to everyone involved. Having entered such an atmosphere as both customer and employee, it seems that for at least 24 hours, people forget any semblance of civility.  

     It’s all about getting their hands on the latest products, at discounted prices. And, even more egregious, this herd mentality often gets people to buy things they didn’t want in the first place, simply because it was on sale.  

     According to Value Walk, Black Friday sales garner quite the profit, along with Cyber Monday. I don’t blame anyone for trying to get items on sale, especially if you wouldn’t normally be able to afford them any other time of the year.  

     But the animalistic way in which some people tend to go about it needs to stop. Dad kicking another man in the groin is going to be a core memory for your 6-year-old child. 

     Please don’t get me started on the “pre” Black Friday sales — it seems those only exist to give employees a week-long seizure before the real headache begins.  

     If you’re going to participate physically in Black Friday, please at least keep in mind that these employees are doing their best and are likely working very long shifts in stressful environments. Shouting at them or other customers is not going to make this terrible event any better.  

     And for those of you who are being smart and going the online route, I appreciate you. Get your deals and remain un-injured this holiday season. 

Photo by Sebastiao Moreira/EPA, via Shutterstock.