Earlier Black Fridays sell out meaning of Thanksgiving

For some people, Thanksgiving is about spending time with friends and family, and finding reasons to be grateful.

For others, a big part of the holiday is what comes after the turkey and mashed potatoes: the whirlwind day of shopping known as Black Friday.

The day is made up of door-buster sales, ridiculously low prices and a fiercely competitive shopping environment, making it the perfect venue for stocking up on Christmas gifts.

While the sales provided by Black Friday are admittedly worthwhile, those benefits come at a cost. For many retail workers and shoppers, the holiday itself is sacrificed.

Large retail stores such as Wal-Mart, Toys “R” Us and Meijer usually place big-ticket items such as televisions and gaming systems on sale in the early hours of the morning, causing crowds to line up outside the store. As a result, employees need to arrive to work earlier and earlier.

It seems like every year the time the stores open to the public moves up and infringes upon more and more of the holiday.

My friend works at one of these big retailers, and that store is opening at 5 p.m. on the Thursday of Thanksgiving. As a result, she cannot go home to see her family and won’t even get to participate in the tradition of the Thanksgiving dinner.

The shifting opening times of these stores are infuriating, because they get in the way of what I consider to be one of the most important holidays of the year.

Thanksgiving is about being grateful for what we have, and recognizing that we are each blessed in our own way. It is about gathering together with family and friends, and sharing a meal. At the very least, it is about taking just a moment to look for the silver lining, the smallest portion of a bright side, even in the worst of situations.

It is inherently American to strive for the best; it is the holiday of Thanksgiving that reminds us to reflect on that progress, and be thankful for where we are.

However, corporate greed and the desire to have the earliest and best sale have overtaken that grateful spirit. It has become more important for sales to start earlier than to allow employees to spend time with their family on Thanksgiving.

I have no problem with Black Friday shopping, and, in fact, usually participate. However, there needs to be a limit on just how much control retailers have over the holiday.

At the earliest, stores should open at midnight on Friday. It’s called Black Friday for a reason, namely that it should only occur on that day. Thursday is for giving thanks; Friday can be for shopping.

This way, even if employees need to arrive to work a few hours early, they can still spend time with their families on Thanksgiving.

It is important to uphold holidays that are truly ingrained in American culture, as Thanksgiving is. Even more crucial, however, is the need to preserve the spirit of the day: the wish to give thanks. Big retailers are forgetting this important detail when they schedule their Black Friday sales.

While we may certainly be grateful for the deals discovered on Black Friday, the things that Thanksgiving Day celebrates deserve more attention. Remembering family, friends, successes, disappointments, ups and downs, and the trials and tribulations of human existence is more important than any sale could claim to be.

This entry was posted on Monday, November 11th, 2013 and is filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments are closed.