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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Sunday, March 03, 2024
In its day, Thanksgiving was based around giving thanks to your loved ones. Today, it is nothing more than the day before Black Friday to many people. 

In its day, Thanksgiving was based around giving thanks to your loved ones. Today, it is nothing more than the day before Black Friday to many people. 

Black Friday ruins intended meaning of Thanksgiving holiday

With Thanksgiving so close we can already smell the pumpkin pie, the excitement is palpable around campus. A much needed break from classes and family time sounds heavenly, especially with finals beginning to bear their ugly heads.

However, the essence of thankfulness and togetherness that Thanksgiving stands for has been lost in the madness of the holiday. Instead of being thankful for what we have, Thanksgiving is now the time where families leave their table to go to the midnight sale.

Profit-driven companies have turned Thanksgiving into the gateway to the Christmas season, with Black Friday sales stretching into the evening hours of Thanksgiving Thursday. Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year. According to the National Retail Federation, about 30 percent of all retail sales occur between Black Friday and Christmas. The average Black Friday shopper shelled out just shy of $300 in 2015, with $50.9 billion total spent on Black Friday of 2014.

This greedy materialism is disgusting, especially directly after a meal specifically geared towards making us think about what we have in our lives. To contrast this so quickly with the hunger for more is something that we should be ashamed of.

Not only is the materialism aspect of Black Friday bad, but our need to save a few dollars forces retail workers to leave their families on Thanksgiving in order to staff retail stores across the country. With Black Friday being the busiest shopping day of the year, stores need all hands on deck to make sure the day goes seamlessly.

While this wouldn’t necessarily be a big deal if the sales were on Friday, many stores and companies get greedy and have pushed their sales to begin in the evening on Thursday. Retail workers don’t even get to finish the meal with their family, because they have to be at work.

Fortunately, Americans have begun to buck against the Black Friday craze. Companies such as REI have taken a bold stand, choosing to close their doors on Black Friday last year.

The outdoor company paid their employees for the day but did not require them to come into the store, allowing them to spend time with their families. They also started the hashtag #OptOutside, which encouraged customers to use the day to spend time with their families in the outdoors instead of engaging in the shopping frenzy.

While REI’s statement was a bold and risky one, it worked out tremendously for them. Their respect to their employees resonated with many shoppers, and their online traffic spiked even though their brick-and-mortar locations were closed. In the retail world, a voice of compassion is a breath of fresh air that consumers responded well to.

While REI’s stance was a powerful and influential one, there is still more work to do. Larger Black Friday faces, such as Walmart or Target, should take a cue from REI and curb their sales to be more realistic and friendly towards their employees. While it is easy to let profits get in the way, employees are the foundation of a company. Shouldn’t you treat them well?

Samantha is a sophomore majoring in journalism and communication arts. Do you think that Black Friday is taking away from Thanksgiving as a holiday? Or do you take advantage of the deals that are offered by stores like Target and Walmart? Please send all comments, questions and concerns to opinion@dailycardinal.com.

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