Mixed up over Black Friday

Shoppers laden with bags of sale items walk South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., on a rainy Black Friday morning, Nov. 29, 2013. (Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times/MCT)
Shoppers laden with bags of sale items walk South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., on a rainy Black Friday morning, Nov. 29, 2013. (Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

We have a love-hate relationship with Black Friday.

The love comes from the deals and the thrill of seeking them out. This day kicks off the holiday shopping season, and the rush to get great gifts for all our loved ones fuels the mood. Despite the harsh consequences of our aggression, there is something quite fun about racing to get the items we want before someone else does.

The stores use this day to provide these gifts at a lower price, while simultaneously taking away from our family celebrations. We move from a day of thankfulness spent with family and food to a harsh day of greed. This wouldn’t be so bad if the stores would simply open early Friday morning.

However, instead of the traditional doorbuster deals the day of Black Friday, it’s becoming more common for stores to open late Thanksgiving night, also known as Grey Thursday. Throughout this past decade, the opening times of big stores such as Wal-Mart and Target have moved from midnight to 8 p.m., and now have moved to 6 p.m.

The stores push this because Christmas shopping is their money-making season. In fact, the title “Black Friday” comes from the day when stores move from loss (in the red) to profit (in the black). They finally meet their margins for the year because of the enormous amount of consumers that participate in this shopping holiday. The earlier they open their stores, the more money they will make.

For some of us, unless we are in retail, don’t really miss any Thanksgiving traditions due to Black Friday. Leaving our families that we may only see once a year to go shopping is not appealing to any of us. However, that is just the opinion of us on staff. We have no interest in missing out on a day of gratefulness and bonding for a time of negativity and consumerism.

Many others may not agree. Clearly, the stores will open on Grey Thursday and be packed with shoppers who crush each other to get the greatest deals on “My Little Pony” toys. We have heard people being insulted and seen them being trampled. This is not a good sampling of human kindness. In fact, it can be rather scary. The amount of injuries, and even deaths, over low prices does not seem like a fair trade.

Are they really the best deals though?

There are many stores that advertise their “lowest prices ever,” but a little research shows that items can be found for less throughout the year. For example, according to Target’s Black Friday ad, the Nikon D3200 Digital SLR Camera will be $497.99 on Nov. 28. This compares to this week’s cheaper price of $479.99. Is this worth leaving your family on Thanksgiving?

For some of us, Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday. We have fond memories of gathering around the dinner table with all our favorite foods and sharing conversation with family. We all have our own traditions of skating together, going bowling or watching movies. We play board games and eat apple pie, taking a rest after a long day of eating our weight in mashed potatoes.

Nonetheless, many of us will still go out early Friday morning and purchase items from these big chain corporations. We contribute to the problem, turning a blind eye to the fact that these stores open early because of the demand for them to. It’s a problem that will not be fixed any time soon, so we might as well pick up our wallets and dive in. After all, like Thanksgiving, this day only comes once a year.