The Catalyst

The Irony of Black Friday

Julia Hebrok, Staff Writer

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Black Friday is an American “holiday” that comes on the day after Thanksgiving, known for many discounts in stores and popular for people looking to get their holiday shopping done in one go.

It was originally named Black Friday due to the chaos that would ensue on that day after Thanksgiving in Philadelphia, with shoplifting and traffic taking over the city of brotherly love.

However, once the holiday became more popular and widespread in the rest of the country, retailers changed the history of the term to have a more positive connotation. They started selling the narrative that Black Friday is the first day of the year that stores are operating at a profit or “in the black,” rather than operating at a loss or “in the red.”

Black Friday has become a four-day long ordeal with the rise of theme days, such as Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday. With its extension into the entire Thanksgiving weekend and its increasing popularity in American mainstream culture, it is important to consider whether or not this holiday is actually necessary.

Everyone has seen people wait and even camp outside of big box stores days before the sales start. Those who do not often leave their homes even join the line to wait for the opening of store doors at midnight or earlier, just hours after a Thanksgiving dinner that celebrated the appreciation of family, friends, and the less materialistic things in life.

Black Friday has also gained notoriety for the fights that break out over “door busters” and discounted items, making this a well-known nightmare for people working in retail. And, when things sell out, people begin harassing retail workers over what’s left. Most do not even stop to consider the irony of their actions and how little material things matter in the grand scheme of life.

Some stores do not even have bargains that would be substantial enough to wake up at 5am and taze someone for — yes, this has happened.

  It is important for us as Americans to consider how deeply unnecessary having such a cosmetic and frivolous holiday is and how much more valuable it would be to live out the gratitude we express on Thanksgiving, just the day before.

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The Irony of Black Friday