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Wiygul: The Death of Black Friday

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Wiygul: The Death of Black Friday

Alden Wiygul, Staff Writer

The day after Thanksgiving may end in two polar events: Some choose to spend their Fridays after Thanksgiving groaning about how much turkey they ate, and others choose to stay up all night to participate in Black Friday the next day.

One may choose to put themselves through this harrowing tradition call Black Friday because it is on this fateful day that the prices of everything anyone has ever wanted are suddenly slashed by sales. This day is also an ideal Christmas shopping day because the items are now inexpensive. Many feel a new sense of accomplishment by getting all of the tiring parts of Christmas over with early.

Black Friday, however, can be a very stressful and difficult ordeal. People truly dedicated to the spirit of Black Friday camp out in front of the big stores that have the most expensive items, and often the largest sales. This can be cold, tiring and strenuous. Spending all night in a tent just to get 100 dollars off of an iPhone can be ridiculous.

Even if they choose not to camp out, people still have to get up at the crack of dawn to make sure they can get the item that they want. This can cause a flood of people into the stores, inciting a mass panic and often a mob mentality. This dark side of Black Friday can be distressing to even think about. Sales and holiday cheer can only be construed as a happy experience until someone gets injured or even dies.

In 2008, a worker at a Long Island WalMart was trampled to death in one of these Black Friday stampedes. While that is the worst it has been, the horrific tales of Black Friday experiences do not stop there.

In 2017 alone, one man got a shattered hip in an altercation at a Kmart, a teen was injured in a Missouri mall shooting, one man was stabbed and another shot at Willowbrook Mall, and several brawls started in a shopping center in Alabama, causing it to close completely.

Every year there is another list of people harmed, and every year the list grows to sound like Thanksgivings own twelve days of Christmas. Yet people still choose to go out to experience this dark holiday.

Even before it became a nationwide event, the story of how Black Friday got its name has somewhat negative connotations. In Philadelphia in the 1960’s, sales caused people to crowd the streets. This meant the police were unable to pass through all the cars and pedestrians, so they began to complain and gave that day the name Black Friday. Although, the financial and retail side of the term Black Friday came rather from when accounting records were kept by hand in the 1960’s. During all these sales, stores would move from red ink, representing a loss in profit, to black ink, representing a gain.

Thankfully, in recent years Black Friday has lost some of its grandeur. Yes, there are still a lot of people that do choose to go, but nowadays more people do not have the time or the energy to commit to such a tiring holiday. This is in part because current generations are getting more intolerant of all the gritty aspects. They realized that the sales are often not worth the cold, early mornings.

Some stores have seen this shift in attitude and chosen to start Black Friday sales early. Old Navy for example had a Black Friday pre-party where people got 40% off of their purchase. This encourages more shoppers and is sometimes better for business than just one blowout sale.

Others often just choose to not participate and have no sales. All of them seem to be opting now to open at their regular time too. There is no more shopping with the sunrise or camping out for the doors to open at 5 a.m. for everyone to flood in.

The largest aspect of our current society that is killing Black Friday, however, is the emergence of the internet. Every store nowadays has a website that they sometimes get a majority of their sales from. There are often Black Friday sales and then there is Cyber Monday.

Cyber Monday is a phrase that was first coined in 2005. It was used to talk about the Monday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday when people returned to their work where they had high speed internet after a weekend of window shopping. So even before it was an official part of the holiday season, it was still one of the nation’s growing traditions.

After the term was marketed in 2005, Cyber Monday became a formal term that online stores could use and every year after, online sales grew exponentially. In 2017 sales grew to be $6.59 billion.

Cyber Monday easily gained such popularity because it is such a universal idea. While the United States associates it with our Thanksgiving, other countries still observe it as a “holiday” because consumerism is so worldwide. There are 23 countries that formally observe it, ranging from Germany and England to South Korea and Uganda.

The popularity of Cyber Monday stems mostly from the attitude of today’s society. People are starting to prefer shopping online rather than going to the physical store. Websites often have more items for better prices. They do not care as much about the instant gratification of buying from a store anymore because they would rather shop from the comfort of their own homes.

This has caused the emergence of services society did not even contemplate needing before, like pre-ordering groceries from Walmart and just picking them up. Amazon has grown into a trillion-dollar company just because of the ease of online shopping.

This lazy mentality can often be damaging to our culture and customs, but in the case of Black Friday it can be a good thing. With all the danger that comes from people developing the mob mentality that comes with Black Friday’s frenzy, it really is much safer and easier to shop online. While Black Friday can be a great experience and tradition, it is slowly dying out to the craze of Cyber Monday.

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About the Writer
Alden Wiygul, Staff Photographer

Hey! My name is Alden Wiygul. I live here in Columbus, MS. I am a part of the photography team because I love art. Besides photography, I like to draw,...

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