I used to get excited for Black Friday, the glorious day of shopping after Thanksgiving on Thursday. Between mapping out which stores I'd visit, making a budget for those stores, waiting in the lines, and taking advantage of great deals, it felt almost like Christmas before Christmas. It was an adventure—but I've come to realize that it's not worth it.
Think about safety.
How many stories do we hear throughout the weekend about violence on Black Friday? I thought road rage was extreme until I witnessed shopping rage. Each year, people are killed or injured by passionate shoppers and sometimes stampedes. It's not hard to imagine either: someone waiting in unnecessary long lines in the cold, only to finally enter the store and see a crowd that would trigger claustrophobia in even the most unsusceptible of people. Throw in a little impatience and some intense holiday stress, plus someone potentially being shoved into someone else, and, unsurprisingly you've got a brawl on your hands.
Some laws that have been passed to help Black Friday safety, but deaths and injuries continue to be reported each year. It's dangerous.
Think about money.
Sure, Black Friday is supposed to help you save money with special deals. But is this really the case? While your wallet may thank you for taking advantage of a sale, you are at risk of impulse buying all the other goodies you didn't realize you needed. Your budget becomes flexible, and instead of sticking to your prioritized list, you end up leaving with bags of things you don't need but had to have. Let's not forget similar sales run before Thanksgiving, as well as steep discounts in the weeks that follow Thanksgiving.
It's often said that the early bird gets the worm, and that may very well be the case for saving money and avoiding Black Friday madness. For those people who enjoy celebrating holidays after the public does, prices are conveniently slashed immediately after Christmas, allowing for greater savings.
Think about its effects.
Although its history is controversial, Thanksgiving should be about giving thanks. Unfortunately, Black Friday has come to overshadow Thanksgiving as a day to save, a day to shop, a day to be more excited about shopping than giving thanks for what we have. We see Halloween on TV commercials. We see Christmas on TV commercials. But we don't see Thanksgiving on TV commercials. Instead, we see Black Friday. Why is that we may sit at a table with family and break bread, only to go home and prepare to raid stores like crazed scavengers a few hours later?
Meeting consumer demands by opening store doors late Thursday night means employees must leave their families early. Some employees are paid more for clocking in on Black Friday and holidays, but not everyone is reimbursed for their time and labor as well as they should be; the pay still doesn't mount up to the priceless quality time they could be spending with their families.
I love a great sale, but I don't love the idea of taking advantage of a great sale with so much at stake: time, safety, money, no guarantee of getting the item(s) you want. Let's also not forget about Cyber Monday when some prices are even lower. Why not remain in the comfort of your home and shop the same sales online?
For those who enjoy being along for the Black Friday ride, though, best wishes and be safe! As for me, I'll be staying in, avoiding the stress, and probably binge-watching Disney+.