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Black Friday: Does it really have to start so early?

Elyse Grothaus, Head Copy Editor

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Thanksgiving is the most underappreciated holiday. The Thanksgiving history lesson that we teach may be more fiction than fact at this point, and it still fails to include the Wampanoag side of the story. But that is a whole different opinion piece in itself. The practice of Thanksgiving as it is today — a time to slow down, enjoy the presence of family and friends, and eat incredible food — is much needed in our country. It is a holiday without want or greed and a time to be thankful for the the things that are most important in life. I also know that most Luther students would have a hard time making it through the semester without this relaxing break shortly before finals. However, Thanksgiving is quickly being forgotten by our consumer-driven society as we rush into the Christmas season earlier and earlier every year.

The most glaring example of this is Black Friday. How ironic is it that one day Americans are giving thanks for what they have and the next they are at each other’s throats in shopping malls fighting over more stuff? I understand that Black Friday marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and I love the promise of great deals as much as the next person, but why does it have to take place right after a day of gratitude? It stands as a blatant example of a consumerist country and its underlying greed.

Not only this, but Black Friday now begins for many stores on Thursday evening right around the time that people should be sitting down to eat dinner. I could not believe it when I saw commercials advertising that their doors were to open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. This corporate choice also affects people who work at those stores and must give up their holiday in order to manage crowds of angry shoppers. Fortunately, there are a number of stores that have pledged to stay closed on Thanksgiving including IKEA, Barnes & Noble, Fleet Farm, Marshalls, and Nordstrom. However, countless other corporations including Walmart, Best Buy, and Big Lots stay open all night for “hardcore” shoppers. An online survey conducted by BestBlackFriday.com in September found that only 16 percent of adults liked the idea of Black Friday starting a day early, but many huge corporations still chose to open on Thursday with the hope of making more money.

I know that Thanksgiving is a subtle holiday in that it does not revolve around the exciting practices of gift giving, egg hunting, or trick-or-treating. For some, its only significance is that it serves as a midpoint between Halloween and Christmas. But I think that Thanksgiving is a wonderful occasion to put the stressful aspects of life on hold and enjoy the company of loved ones. So, at the very least, wait until Thanksgiving is over to start Black Friday shopping.

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