Last time I checked, Friday — just like any other day — lasts 24 hours: from midnight to 11:59 p.m. But each year, “Black Friday” sales start earlier and earlier, encroaching upon Thanksgiving — a time ideally spent reflecting upon life’s (unmaterialistic) blessings.
Sales used to start at midnight, then a few started an hour or two earlier than that to get ahead of their competitors. Now it’s starting to cycle out of control.
For instance, Macy’s and Kohl’s are set to open at 6 p.m. (at most locations) on Thanksgiving, according to their respective websites. Last year, their sales started at 8 p.m., according to an article from USA Today.
According to the same article, JC Penney’s sale also started at 8 p.m. in 2013. This year, though, their website says stores are set to open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, with an asterisk explaining “except where prohibited by law.”
I’m all for a good deal but sacrificing family — and food — time to fight crowds and stand in line for hours? No thanks.
After all, 6 p.m. is a rather normal time for dinner and that’s when my extended family gathers every year.
I’ve noticed family members duck out early in the past couple years to go shop, so who knows what it will be like this year with sales starting at the same time as dinner. And what about in a few years? If this trend continues, will all families just cook a big lunch for after the parade and head to the stores for the evening?
I hope not.
Personally, it’s a bummer. As a student coming home for a couple days to celebrate Thanksgiving and head back in time for the Michigan game, I don’t want to drive almost three hours just to eat and not have the chance to socialize with family and friends before they go shopping.
(OK, maybe that’s a lie — I am willing to drive home solely for food, but that’s only because living off-campus this year has reminded me I cannot cook.)
But this whole Black Friday-but-really-Thursday deal doesn’t just stink for those of us with dinner-time gatherings. At least I get to eat and relax for the night with ideally some company. Thousands of sales associates at various stores across the country don’t necessarily have that choice or luxury.
Some people might not agree with many U.S. holidays, including Thanksgiving. There are people who disagree with the origins or meanings of certain holidays, and there are people who claim it’s all for Hallmark, but the fact of the matter is that holidays seem to be the only time set aside for people to see loved ones and take a break from work or school.
Holidays provide much needed pauses from the hectic-ness of life. Without them, there wouldn’t be much to look forward to throughout the year.
Ironically, though, Black Friday is essentially the holy grail of Christmas shopping, meant to increase the happiness, even if materialistically, of another holiday.
Thus, I don’t think its intentions are the worst. I just believe we need to cut it back to what it once was — a time for shopping on Friday, not Thursday.