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Black Friday Backfire?

Black Friday shopping has been a hot-button issue around many Thanksgiving tables since it became the requisite ode to consumerism, but the debate this year seemed more heated than holiday seasons past. With a handful of companies extending their Black Friday sales into Thanksgiving and forcing many employees to work, the dinner conversation of upcoming deals turned into an ethical and moral discussion of valuing dollars over family.

It appears those on the side of preserving family time have won.

Initial reports are showing an 11% decline in Black Friday shopping this season, with many deciding to avoid malls and shopping centers like the plague. The mere existence of websites like Black Friday Death Count is enough to dissuade individuals from risking their lives for discount blenders, but aside from the physical danger and mental distress of racing through a K-Mart like a maniac, society seems to be coming to terms with the sheer ridiculousness of Black Friday.

We’ve all seen the pictures and read the stories. Tent-cities erected days in advance on storefront sidewalks. People selling their places in line for hundreds—and sometimes thousands—of dollars. Shoppers accosted in parking lots for their newly purchased merchandise. During a time of year that puts an emphasis on gratitude, family and giving, Black Friday is the mess in the living room that the cat dragged in.

And judging by the numbers, many people have simply had enough.

Of course, the funeral dirges for Black Friday may merely be a statistical anomaly as many have taken to Cyber Monday for their deals—and personal safety—, but with more and more corporations pushing shopping discounts into Thanksgiving and requiring stores to stay open, it seems to me that they’ve overplayed their hand in the name of profit. Potential customers are becoming turned-off by this uninhibited display of commercialism, and choosing instead to enjoy time with their loved ones as opposed to risking life-and-limb to save $15 dollars on a waffle iron.

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