Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Holiday Season. It’s the day we give thanks for everything we have. Well, that’s what it’s supposed to be about, but Thanksgiving Thursday is becoming nothing more than the day people stuff their faces with food in order to have enough energy to shop til they drop the next day – Black Friday. It wouldn’t surprise me if eventually they change the name of the holiday from Thanksgiving to Black Friday Eve, because retailers and customers are so eager for Black Friday to arrive that the shopping frenzy now begins on Thursday evening. Some people head out to the stores before the turkey and sweet potato casserole are even halfway digested and shop all night long.
And these aren’t even the real shopping fanatics. While some of us are sitting at the table with our loved ones for Thanksgiving dinner, true Black Friday pros are in front of their favorite big-box store, where they have been camping out for days because they just have to have that television, computer or game console. It’s as if their existence depends on the acquisition of these things; they need them so desperately that they are willing to skip Thanksgiving altogether.
I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that I don’t do Black Friday. Before I go into why I don’t care for it, let’s take a look at the origins of the term. According to accounting principles, companies record losses in red and profits in black. Many retailers get “in the black” after the kickoff of the Holiday shopping season, hence the name Black Friday. Regardless of the official meaning, to me the “Black” symbolizes other things.
First of all, you can get a black eye, or worse, if you happen to get trampled by a mob of people as they force their way into the stores trying to get first dibs. A few years ago, a Walmart employee was killed by crazed shoppers as they rushed to get in and claim the best rollbacks. This year, an alleged shoplifter was apparently beaten to death by two Walmart associates and a security guard. The intense desire for material things seems to bring out the dark side in some people.
I love a good sale just as much as anyone else. I rarely buy anything at full retail price; I shop around for sales and discounts too (you can find great deals online). The fact that a tablet is 50% off on Black Friday really means nothing to me, because I wouldn’t buy it at full price anyway. So, yeah, maybe the campers and people who wait in line for hours paid half price and I’ll only get 25% off when I buy it, but when I factor in the value of my time, I feel I’m getting the better deal in the end.
You see, no matter how much money you have, you will never be able to purchase time. Instead of spending money, I prefer to spend time with my family on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. It’s the best investment for me, and that’s the bottom line.