Black Friday: Great sales, but at what price?

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Published in the November 16, 2016 issue of The Bells

Ninety percent off. 50 percent off. Signs everywhere are already advertising the lowest prices of the year. Soon people will be pushing others out of the way and fighting to get the last item on the shelf, all in the name of saving a buck.
On Thursday we spend time talking about what we are thankful for and eating turkey with our families. Then Friday comes and once-thankful people are fighting over electronics, home décor, and other material goods, pushing and shoving to get the best deal.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Black Friday just as much as the next person. Black Friday has become an integral part of the American Thanksgiving weekend. It’s just as much a part of Thanksgiving as turkey and football. It’s the day that officially begins the Christmas shopping season.
I usually get up early every year and seek out bargains myself. However, I think that Black Friday’s gotten out of hand.
According to moneycrashers.com, Black Friday didn’t become the busiest shopping day of the year until 2002. In fact, from 1993 until 2001, it ranked between the fifth and 10th busiest shopping days of the year.

Why the sudden increase of shoppers? Stores began to open their doors on Thanksgiving day.Patrons no longer had to wait until the early hours of Friday to go shopping. Stores such as Best Buy, Macy’s, and Target began to offer “early bird” shopping while grandpa was still passed out in his recliner.
Despite the savings these stores offer, the stores should remain closed until after Thanksgiving. This is a time for being thankful for the blessings God has bestowed on His people, for laughing with family, and enjoying delicious food—not bundling up and scratching and clawing for the last big screen TV.
According to a recent article by USA Today, CBL & Associates, which oversees many malls nationwide including Mall of America, will not be opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day. Their reason for closing? CEO Stephen Lebovitz stated that they decided to close, so their employees could spend time with their families.

The fights and stampedes that have broken out over Black Friday are excessive as well.
Car accidents, stabbings, shootings, and even death have occurred because of Black Friday shopping. According the New York Daily News, a Walmart employee was trampled to death in 2013 by bargain-crazed shoppers. In the same store, a pregnant woman was trampled on, which resulted in the miscarriage of her child.
Other shoppers go to such methods as pepper spraying fellow customers to get the deal they want, like one woman in Los Angeles in 2011.
If people must go to such methods as pepper-spraying others or even killing another person, we have a problem.
Black Friday brings out unneeded greediness in some people. If you have to resort to violence to secure a discounted item, then you don’t need it that much. It will go on sale again. Believe me, department stores like to make money.

Do I believe that we should boycott Black Friday shopping entirely? Absolutely not. Stores offer some unbeatable prices. And with Christmas only a month away, it’s convenient. Shoppers are able to buy gifts for their families that they may not necessarily be able to afford if it wasn’t discounted.
Whether you’re buying presents for a large family and trying to pay bills or you’re living off of a college kid’s salary, the prices of gifts add up. So take advantage of the sales, but don’t let them go to your head.
Most importantly, Americans need to be thankful for what has been given to them. We are blessed to live in a world where we can celebrate everything we are thankful for and then go shopping the next day.
I Chronicles 16:34 states, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good: his love endures forever.”
So eat plenty of food, spend time with family, watch football, find some good bargains, and give thanks this Thanksgiving holiday.

Author: Lauren Lum

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