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The Irony Of Black Friday: Dedicating A Day Of Materialism To The Day After Giving Thanks

Have you ever thought about the irony of Black Friday? Every year, we drop what we’re doing and come home to celebrate the holiday of giving thanks on the last Thursday of November. We come home to see our loved ones; our family and friends who we don’t always have the chance to see frequently. Thanksgiving is a warm and loving holiday built into our annual schedule that we look forward to every year.

While Thanksgiving is a time of self-reflection where we are able to think back on how lucky we are to have all that we do, Black Friday somehow always creeps up on us the next day. A day devoted to pure materialism, Black Friday is the day that signifies the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. It is a day full of promotional sales, and who would want to miss out on something like that?

Black Friday finds people of all backgrounds camping outside of malls waiting for the doors to open, sprinting through store aisles in order to find the best deals, and all the while, trying to avoid getting trampled. It has routinely become the busiest shopping day of the year. While, in years past it has been common for retailers to open their stores on Black Friday around 6:00AM, it has now become customary for many retailers to open at midnight, as if we can’t even have a complete day devoted to appreciating what we have. As a result, before Thanksgiving is even over, people start thinking about how they are going to get to the Black Friday sales to buy things they wish they had.

What has America become? What is our society doing? Is it not possible anymore to have one day of the year set aside for showing our appreciation and gratitude for what we have been provided with in our lives? Is the only way to celebrate the democratic and capitalist society that we live in by participating in more consumerism? What does this show? It makes it appear as though all Americans are ungrateful beings. Why is it necessary that we have to distract ourselves during Thanksgiving with thoughts on how we will get to the mall the next day and who will accompany us on our “gift hunt?”

While many people do enjoy all the excitement of Black Friday, I recommend that we all take a minor step back to reflect on what Thanksgiving means to us. Rather than thinking about where we can shop the next day to find the lowest price on a given item, maybe we should all just try to focus and understand the meaning of Thanksgiving; the holiday that makes coming home and surrounding ourselves with our families, once again, possible.

Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4



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Diana Weinstein

U Mass Amherst

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