Black Friday: Condoning the Consumer While Persecuting Protestors

Written by Lauren Kubiak; Photo Courtesy of John Henderson

Imagine preparing a meal all day and wondering if your family will even enjoy the food. You put your heart and soul into making sure the turkey is perfectly cooked, not to mention making the stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans and pie (the list may go on). You finish setting the table and the phone rings. The cousin you were so excited to see cannot make it for dinner this year; she’s waiting in a line outside of Target.

Black Friday doesn’t have the history you might think. It all began with a financial crisis, and it ended with crazed shoppers willing to wait in massive lines for companies who release deals on products earlier and earlier each year. We do, of course, live in a country where corporations thrive off of people wanting a good deal. The following stores are expected to open on Thanksgiving Day to take advantage of that:

WalMart: 6 p.m. 

Target: 6 p.m.

BestBuy: 5 p.m. 

ToysRUs: 5 p.m.

Sears: 6 p.m.

Kohls: 6 p.m.

JCPenney: 3 p.m.

Macy’s: 5 p.m.

And trust me, the list goes on.

Controversy

Typically, shoppers arrive a few hours before doors open. Years ago, stores opening at midnight might have raised their eyebrows to the shopper who started a line six hours prior.Today, this is the norm. In fact, it has become so normal that Thanksgiving dinner for many could be maneuvered around or simply cancelled for the sake of shopping hours.

The one day a year that people are able to show their appreciation for family and a good meal is now being discarded for items and objects. A person might forget their lunch or forget to call back their friend. It is normal to forget. We forget to appreciate the people who we cherish. One day a year where we are expected to come together and accept each other’s differences, but we would rather be fighting over the latest gadget with the best bargain (or waiting in the longest lines of the season all alone).

Retail workers are expected to work Black Friday hours since the stores need as much help they can get, and some have to sacrifice a turkey dinner in order to open on Thanksgiving. The workers pay the price when handling clients who will do anything in their power to get what they want; employees get lucky when shoppers attempt to make their life easier. It’s heads or tails when it comes to Black Friday shoppers.

People have actually had (and will continue to have) brawls over an item that they need for their child or loved one. There is video footage of not only adults fighting, but adults fighting children over toys. Where do you draw the line? Apparently, “Black Friday” means you can disregard your morals.

Protests have been non-stop following the victory of President-Elect Donald Trump. Protesters want their voice to be heard. The First Amendment says very clearly that no legislator can make a law against the right to assemble and the right to petition and protest the government to solve a problem.

Peaceful protests make a change without giving into violence. Some people do end up using violent, believing they will get a response, and those few instances have overshadowed the calm protesters. Protests following Trump’s success for presidency have been mostly non-violent. Somehow, these peaceful protests are beaten down by opinionated Americans who are joyful over their next president.

Society deems consumerism is key. People are taught to want things, so that people will buy things. Corporations rely on purchases and live for Black Friday. Saving money means making money on the opposite end of the spectrum. The violence between customers is viewed as some sort of survival tactic for the items they want, so it becomes accepted.

While both can lead to violence, one is protected by The Constitution for a reason. Non-violent protesting can be effective, and it is important for the public to exercise their freedom to do so. The line is thin between the actions of shoppers and protesters. It seems that the shoppers have won by using more violence than the anti-Trump protesters. Whether shopping or protesting, violence might do more harm than good.

Instead of punching someone for the popular toy this year, choose to give them the toy and show there are still virtuous people. Instead of hating someone because they do not agree with your beliefs, love someone because of their difference of opinion.

And as for you, Black Friday, stick with the day after Thanksgiving.

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