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The Insanity of Black Friday

By Maggie DeBlasis on November 15, 2013
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flickr credits James Cridland

With an economy that?s been shaky at best during the past couple of months, major retailers are prepping for what?s been proven in the past to be the ?Super Bowl of shopping :? Black Friday.

Last year alone, about 225 million people shopped on Black Friday and around $11.4 billion
was spent. This year, despite Americans? skepticism of the government, sales are expected to increase 17 percent on Black Friday, which is good news for the stock market. However, it?s not nearly as good news as predictions for online sales on Cyber Monday and Thanksgiving itself, which are up to 15 percent and 21 percent respectively.

Almost all of the major retail chains, including Walmart, Target and Best Buy, will open Thursday evening and afternoon for deals galore. Kmart, in the most extreme case of Black Friday retailing, will open at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving and won?t close until 11 p.m. on Friday. That?s 41 straight hours. The chain started this trend within the past couple years, but this is the first time that the stores aren?t closing so workers can go home and enjoy family time. And though those who end up working for those long hours will most likely be paid good money for their time, is it really worth it in the end?

Supposedly, consumers are buying earlier than usual this year for a multitude of reasons. Since Thanksgiving falls on the 28th this year, the latest it has been in a decade, there is even less time to buy presents. To add to that, Hanukkah starts the night before the holiday for the first and last time in our lifetimes, so people can go out on Thanksgiving Day to get last minute gifts.

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But, the main reason retailers are beginning to open on Thanksgiving is because of supply and demand. There are people who are more willingly to go out and fight the crush of humanity instead of spending quality family time. People are known to sit outside for days before Black Friday just so that they can be one of the first customers in the store. Thanksgiving is one of the only holidays that?s main intention is to spend time with your family. Watch the parade, smell the pies and turkey as they bake, and relax to the football game when the tryptophan coma kicks in: that?s what Americans are supposed to do on Thanksgiving. It?s not a time to go out and get what you want: it’s a time to be grateful for what you have.

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I'm a journalism major, French minor with an unhealthy obsession with bad TV shows, photography, and reading. I love to write one-act plays in what little free time I have, but sometimes the writing spirits don't move me.

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