Juxtaposing Festivities

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Juxtaposing Festivities

Early shoppers swarm department stores.

Early shoppers swarm department stores.

Diario Critico Venezuela

Early shoppers swarm department stores.

Diario Critico Venezuela

Diario Critico Venezuela

Early shoppers swarm department stores.

Kaitlin Foley, Senior Editor

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Diario Critico Venezuela
Early shoppers swarm department stores.

This Thanksgiving break ushered in a time of relaxation for many Americans: a time of giving thanks, spending time with family, celebrating holiday traditions, and more. This national holiday highlights the importance of being grateful for what we have and for all which we have been granted.

Another significant day that took place over this past November weekend would be Black Friday, America’s busiest shopping day of the entire year. This day which shortly tails Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the frenzied Christmas shopping season. Thousands of Americans leave their feasts of turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes behind to scavenge stores across the country in search of the best deal. When MHS students were asked what the first word they thought of when they heard the phrase “Black Friday”, one word was repeated: crazy.

This day is known to bring out the ravenous side of American consumers, all frantic and desperate as they fall into the marketing scheme of the false sense of urgency to get deals and markdowns before they disappear.

However, this national shopping holiday isn’t exactly completely terrible. Like anything, there are multiple perspectives. One notable benefit would be the obvious economic advantage. Americans spend an estimated five billion dollars on this November Friday from year to year. Since it paves the way for a month of Christmas shopping and busy storefronts, Black Friday offers an encouragement to help boost businesses that reside throughout the country. Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday, offers a similar take on the idea, providing a way to encourage American consumers to support small American businesses throughout the country.

However good and well this may seem, many people question the ethics of the day devoted to shopping and splurging short after a day of gratitude. The grateful, content atmosphere of Thanksgiving quickly dissipates as consumerism and materialism take hold. This ironic switch of mindset poses an interesting question: what exactly are the ethics behind Black Friday?

Contrary to what the name implies, the answer isn’t exactly black-and-white. After all, what’s the harm in a little holiday shopping? Are Americans really abandoning feeling thankfulness, or just transitioning into the season of giving? Is Black Friday shopping only bad when there are injuries and deaths because of a flat-screen on sale?

The holiday season is a time for peace and joy, or that is at least what we are told. Is it a gimmick for big business and monetary gain?

Year after year, numbers for foot traffic in stores has been decreasing, due to a greater online presence of the American consumer. The “craziness” may not be as present in stores, but the shift in mindset will still be present. This will leave us wondering into the future: what are the ethics behind Black Friday?