Thanksgiving only comes once a year, and this year many students expressed their gratitude for family members, friends and various items over Facebook. Ironically, Black Friday occurred the next day, and many people–including some students–lined up outside stores where doors opened at midnight to get the year’s greatest deals. Participating in these events takes away from the importance of Thanksgiving and encourages large corporations to open earlier and earlier and force their employees to potentially miss their Thanksgiving plans. As one approaches the rest of the holiday season, they should consider the gift of time over merchandise.
Junior Jordyn Scholer, who works at Old Navy, was not able to spend Thanksgiving with her mom because her scheduled shift was during the time her family had plans. She started at 3:30 pm and ended at 8 pm, and during that time her mom visited other family members and had Thanksgiving with them while her dad waited for her to get off work in order to spend time with her. She was very disappointed that she did not get to celebrate the holiday the way she had planned to.
The growing trend in local companies to open their doors earlier In the previous year, Old Navy was open regular hours on Thanksgiving and opened at midnight Friday morning. Other places like Toys R Us started their Black Friday sales at 9 pm Thanksgiving evening. These hours cut into a family’s ability to spend time together.
The traditional Thanksgiving meal usually takes hours to cook at home while families get together and share the food, potluck style. However, in recent years, some families have decided to skip the fuss of cooking turkeys themselves and instead decided to pay others to do the work for them. Some restaurants offer full Thanksgiving meals for families to order and pick up. For example, Shari’s offers a Turkey Thanksgiving Dinner that serves four to six people for $59.95. This is an example of how these large corporations support Black Friday and encourage consumers to go out and spend money instead of spending time with their families at home.
It seems that most of families who choose to still have home cooked Thanksgiving meals are the ones who do not go shopping on Black Friday, like junior Samie Elwess. For Thanksgiving, her family went to her aunt’s house where they met other family members as well.
Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a day for people to recognize all of thesy have and appreciate the little pleasures of life. It does not make sense that folks would wake up in the early hours of the morning the next day (or stay up all night) to spend their money on games, clothes or new televisions.
There are even fights about products that are low in supply and places in line because of how long people had to wait. For example, outside a Best Buy store in Beaverton, an 18-year old man attacked a 54-year old man as they waited in line to get in the store.
One could say that this shows how people do not fully grasp the meaning of Thanksgiving or appreciate it the way it is meant to be appreciated.
Some students, like Elwess, opted out of the Black Friday shopping experience. Elwess had gone shopping on Black Friday in previous years but decided this year that it was too crazy to handle and not worth it. The pushing and shoving in lines and long waits to purchase items confirmed her decision to stay home. Lining up in front of stores before they open takes away the time that one could be spending with their family.
Also, the horrendously long lines of shoppers that grow longer every year, eager to steal the latest deal in front of the Walmarts and malls threaten the very hope of retaining a traditional Thanksgiving. As time has passed more and more stores have decided to participate in Black Friday by having ridiculous sales and opening very early Friday morning or even the night of Thanksgiving day if stores decide to open earlier than midnight.
Large corporations have encouraged consumers to participate in the madness of Black Friday by offering hard to refuse offers and opening Thanksgiving evening. Consumers need to stop supporting the idea of Black Friday by not shopping on Thanksgiving evening and waiting until Friday, or not shop at all. If the trend continues, these stores will open earlier and earlier every year. This will encroach on Thanksgiving plans and time spent with loved ones. One would hope that Thanksgiving could still be a day where everyone gives thanks for the simple things in life, like the bare necessities. If stores are going to continue to have Black Friday sales (and they surely will), then sales should not start until very late Thanksgiving evening to encourage shoppers to spend as much quality time with family as possible.