Right after Thanksgiving comes the day of the year I dread the most in the United States. I never understood how the greediest day of the year can be followed by what is supposed to be the United State’s most thankful day of the year. Yet, every year starting at midnight right after Thanksgiving, thousands of people leave their loved ones at home after giving thanks for what they already have and stampede into stores, literally clawing and trampling their peers to buy more stuff, stuff that they don’t actually need.
It appears that consumerism and advertising is what Americans truly worship during the holiday season, and every year I am disappointed.
Last year, at least three people were killed trying to participate in Black Friday shopping. A gun fight even broke out over a fight for a store parking space in Florida. Dozens more were injured and even stabbed.
32 million people shop on Thanksgiving day, which means even more than 32 million have to work instead of spending the holiday with their loved ones.
Black Friday has spread to 15 other countries.
Black Friday is not actually the best time to save money on toys, games, and electronics. The best deals where shoppers will actually save more money are right before Christmas. All the ads are basically just one big scam to trick consumers to overspend.
45% of consumers blow their budgets at Black Friday “sales.”
Consumers spent $70.49 billion total in the US alone, Black Friday in 2015.
35 million -The number of people who left family celebrations on Thanksgiving Day to go shopping.
750,000 -The number of seasonal workers that retail stores will hire in preparation for the holiday shopping surge.
Grey Thursday is a new trend; meaning that many stores will now open on Thanksgiving day for shopping sprees instead of waiting until midnight to open.
I boycott Black Friday every year because it simply goes against my morals. I value people and experiences over material things. One year I made the mistake of going out with my father for Black Friday to help him with his own shopping. Everyone was miserable, the crowds were immense, and all the “deals” I found were fake. I couldn’t find a hint of holiday spirit in anyone. We waded through crowds and frowns, wasted our entire day, and for what? More junk that doesn’t mean anything? To me, it goes against what the holidays stand for at their very foundation.
In no way do I want to shame Black Friday shoppers. I know many people who leave home in the middle of the night to line up at stores. I understand that for most of them, they’re trying their best to save money and find gifts for their loved ones. I respect that, but the best gift is actually time spent together, not more things. I also feel bad knowing that these good people, who want to give the world to their families, are actually being scammed into overspending and tricked into buying junk. I feel bad that they feel the need to overspend, give more than they can afford, and put themselves into debt due to a societal pressure. For some, it is the only day they have off before the holidays to shop. They’re also teaching themselves, their children, and their loved ones that gifts matter more than time spent together and that the holidays are all about the gifts. It isn’t a good message. It is my hope to inspire people to spend their holidays with more intention.
Every November I celebrate a Thankfulness November, a month dedicated to thankfulness and appreciation for the many things that I already have. This month, I hope you spend your money and your time on the experiences that matter most, not on more stuff. I hope this year you also consider boycotting Black Friday and if you do decide to shop, please do so respectfully and with kindness to your families, your community, and to local businesses.
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