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Editorial: What’s the cost of Black Friday?

As shopping days grow, meaning of holiday is weakened

The New Hampshire

Published: Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 02:12

Shortly after Halloween is over and candy is placed on discount in retail stores, Christmas decorations begin appearing on shelves, seldom saving places for turkeys and cornucopias. With retailers and advertisers controlling much of the attention that Americans give to holidays, Thanksgiving seems to be given the lowest priority of these three. And with increased emphasis on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the importance of purchasing more goods, even less attention is given to Thanksgiving each year as Black Friday grows.

It has been said before, but it is incredibly ironic that the one day of the year dedicated to showing appreciation for what people already have is immediately followed by a day dedicated to accumulating more items. While it can be argued that on Black Friday people are out purchasing gifts to show their appreciation and thanks for their loved ones during the holiday season, that does not negate the fact that their Thanksgiving celebrations have been nearly overlooked by the need to shop as early as that evening.

Retailers offer significant discounts to shoppers willing to head to the stores Thursday night or Friday morning, but what is the real cost of Black Friday? Is cutting the price on some items worth cutting short a day spent with loved ones?

Some people are able to enjoy Thanksgiving before doing some shopping the following day, but others seem to overlook the meaning of the holiday just hours later, heading into stores where fights over merchandise ensue. This focus on material goods seems to outweigh the themes of generosity, gift-giving and appreciation that are supposed to be the focus instead of material goods. 

Headlines from media outlets across the country convey a picture of what some Black Friday shopping experiences became: “People Beat Each Other Up Over Towels At Walmart On Black Friday” and “Black Friday Marred By Violence in Several States” were two articles from the Huffington Post. These may be extreme examples of Black Friday, but they are the images of the day that are remembered.

As college students with part-time jobs, most students can benefit financially from the savings that are offered in the hours and days following Thanksgiving. But in the limited time that many students have to spend at home over the short Thanksgiving break, using part of that time away from family to shop seems contradictory to the spirit of the weekend.

Students should be making fiscally responsible decisions, but not at the cost of losing time with family. The same can be said for all Americans, not just students. As the season for shopping grows with each passing year - and will likely become even more of an event next year - remember to appreciate the holidays in their due time, no matter how much money will not be saved if a midnight sale is missed.

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