Shopsgiving: Black Friday ruins the holiday

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A protest against Black Friday Consumerism. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

By Editorial Board

Thanksgiving evokes different imagery for everyone. Ideally the holiday represents a table filled with food, surrounded by family, children drawing hand turkeys, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade or whatever traditions your family has.
However, for some, it means working in retail because stores are open on Thanksgiving Day or “Brown Thursday.” For the shoppers, it’s leaving the dinner table and heading out to grab a deal.

Extending hours to Thanksgiving has become more popular in recent years. Last year 34.6 million people shopped in stores on Thanksgiving Day, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2015 Thanksgiving Weekend Survey. This number is only a sliver of the 151 million who shopped in stores or online during the Thanksgiving weekend.

The NRF survey also found that the average spending per person over the thanksgiving weekend totaled $299.60, with an average of $229.56 specifically going toward gifts, which was 76.6 percent of total purchases.

Blurring Thanksgiving, a day that is meant to be spent with family or friends, with Black Friday takes away from the meaning of it. Not only does it take the shoppers away from their families, but it takes the retail workers away from their families. Those are people who may want to be with their families, but have to work instead because of the extended hours.

While it is always a good thing to save money, it is not necessary to do so on a holiday. It not only convinces people to spend money they may not have on things they do not necessarily need, but it turns what should be time with family into just time to shop and compete with others for material items.

It’s also unfair of employers to expect their employees to give up their holidays, even if there is an increase in pay for that day. A member of our editorial board works for a large retailer and can confirm that employees are forbidden from requesting Thanksgiving Day and that following weekend off.

Likewise, this store also does not allow for employees to take off from Thanksgiving until the end of Christmas Day (though the store is closed on Christmas.) This leaves people with a choice to either lose their jobs or forego any plans they may have had with family and friends throughout the entirety of December in addition to having their Thanksgiving ruined by work. Of course, it comes with the business of retail, however, it does not seem right to ruin the holiday season for employees just so you can use them for labor.

When it comes down to it, there are numerous other days that consumers can use to shop for presents. It seems unnecessary to do so on a holiday that should offer all time to relax. No one wants to write off holiday shopping all together, but it might make most sense to stay home on Thanksgiving and Black Friday in the end.

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