Editorial: Conspicuous consumption: Black Friday takes undeserved precedence during holiday season

By Laura Hancq
November 30, 2011

Black Friday: Not exactly a shining moment for the human race. In light of the shopping extravaganza that is the day after Thanksgiving, The Loquitur editorial staff has been reflecting on what this day says about this country and our priorities.

Obviously, it’s great to be able to go out and get great deals, especially on expensive items such as televisions and game systems, but what happens when you stop and think about how this day has changed over the years? The day after Thanksgiving used to mark the beginning of the season of giving; now, it marks the beginning of the season of trampling your fellow man to get 20 percent off an over-priced electronic piece of equipment. We feel that if we called some of our ancestors down from heaven, they wouldn’t recognize these monsters who invade these stores as human beings.

Is it not ironic that we dedicate an entire day to giving thanks and then a couple hours after the thankful festivities are over, we become the worst versions of ourselves and embody the crazed, mindless consumer? Isn’t gratitude all about appreciating what you already have instead of just longing after more possessions?

Most people have the day off from work and colleges close campuses in order for families to give thanks and celebrate this joyous holiday that has absolutely nothing to do with packaged goods, only for people to sometimes cut their dinners short in order to get in line at Walmart. How about the truly obsessed who completely skip the holiday in order to get in line days in advance to be the first in line to get their hands on that 70 in. television?

The worrisome question that bothers the Loquitur editorial staff is “when is this madness going to stop?” It seems that every year it gets worse and Thanksgiving day is cut shorter and shorter as the deals start earlier and earlier. Is there going to be a point when Thanksgiving ceases to exist?

While Black Friday can have positive effects on the economy, our one day dedicated to gratitude is crucial to the well-being of the people of this country during this difficult time. In this challenging economic period, when it is so easy to focus on everything we are without, we need this day to remember and be thankful for everything we do still have.

Luckily, the things we are truly thankful for are the vital ones in life, such as our relationships with family and friends. These things can’t be forgotten. When is the last time you heard someone around your Thanksgiving table honestly say they were more thankful for their Playstation 3 than their family or friends? This is why we need this day. This is why Thanksgiving can’t be overshadowed by a day run by stores and the media. In this difficult time, we need to tell those we love, and we need to hear from those we love, about our gratitude for the important people in life.

The Loquitur editorial staff would like to pose the question, “what makes us truly happy in life?” Do our friends and family pick us up when we’re down, or do we only find comfort in material possessions? Realistically, it’s probably a combination of both and there is nothing wrong with finding pleasure in entertainment. Not everyone is blessed with a strong family, but if you are, how can you really justify putting possessions over people? You never know how much time you have left with the people you love, time spent should be with them, not waiting for the mall to open.

As college students who are on tight budgets, obviously we appreciate the deals on Black Friday. We also understand that many live in poverty and perhaps many cannot afford to buy Christmas presents for their families if it wasn’t for this day. But think about it. How does the media portray this day? Is the majority of those in line to buy obscenely large television screens impoverished or out of work? Most likely not.

When you have a middle class so desperate for material possessions that a woman will pepper spray other people in line at Walmart in order to gain the edge over other shoppers, or an employee who lost his life because he was trampled to death by a slew of customers, what does this say about the world we live in?

Community. Family. Gratitude. These are values that we should embody at all times of the year. Don’t be such a crazed consumer that you forget what is truly important in life. It’s possible to live an empty life with a house full of electronics. In this tough time, relationships, faith and values will get us through.


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Laura Hancq

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