FACEOFF: Black Friday contributes to excessive, wasteful consumption

We know that waking up early before the sun on Friday, Nov. 29, is a tradition for many families. We crowd near doors of large retail chains, ready to find good deals and fight anyone who gets in our way. Black Friday has become a phenomenon that brings to light the consumer and determined mindset that many at times are trivial and scary to observe. 

The idea of Black Friday on paper does make a lot of sense. Stores have a large amount of inventory that they want to get rid of, holidays in December are just around the corner and people make last-minute gift buying excursions. However, we need to look at this concept with a critical eye so that we understand that it’s something much more destructive than good. 

One of the main things that get people rallied up about Black Friday is the supposed ‘great deals’ they’ll get from retail stores from clothing to electronics. Getting something at a relatively cheaper price is something that a lot of us strive for when we go Black Friday shopping. Unfortunately, those ‘great deals’ are either limited in quantity and gone by the time other shoppers manage to find them or aren’t saving customers as much as they assume they’re getting. Some stores have the same ‘great deals’ all year round but push them heavily during Black Friday or are heavily inflated before their sale for it to seem like you’re getting a great deal, but you’re actually paying the original price. It can be discouraging to find out that what you thought was saving you money is doing the exact opposite.  

Another thing to note about Black Friday is the aggressive culture and mindset that many shoppers have during this time. We see so many videos, news reports and pictures of people stampeding and fighting one another. It’s scary to think that one minute you’re thankful for what you have and the people in your life and the next you’re on the brink of committing assault trying to get the last Xbox game for your kid. We don’t stop to think about the implications that our actions have on one another. It comes down to a survival of the fittest mode that you would see in the animal kingdom. People have died because of this, and all for what? An item that they probably didn’t need and will only use a handful of times before they chuck it into the trash can and the cycle starts all over again.