68°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Black Friday demeans thanksgiving significance

Hordes+of+shoppers+will+troop+to+retail+stores+to+get+discount+deals
Hordes of shoppers will troop to retail stores to get discount deals

Fifty-seven billion, 400 million dollars. That was the approximate amount of money that was spent by U.S. consumers during the Black Friday weekend of 2013.
It’s become a sort of tradition that right after revealing how thankful we are for the gift of humanity, we proceed to act like animals in the pursuit of the best deals available. Stores offer massive sales. Sometimes the discounts are as great as 95 percent off, and this leads to an “Oh my God, savings!” induced frenzy among everyday shoppers. It perfectly captures America’s spirit and culture of over-abundant consumerism and dissatisfaction with the status quo. It is the epitome of everything that is detestable about capitalism.
Despite the dire straits in which the economy is currently embroiled, it was estimated by the National Retail Federation that up to 140 million people shopped this Black Friday weekend, which is a slight decrease from the absurd figure 152 million of 2012, and 147 of last year. I guess we have our priorities straight.
Although it may seem like stores are offering mega discounts because of the boundless depths of their gooey hearts, the reality is that we (the consumers) are nothing more than avenues to accrue profit to them. We are simply a means to an end and most of us are too blinded by the discounts to see it. Stores use the sales of Black Friday as a sort of barometer for what’s required of them for the rest of the holiday season.
Retailers racked $11.4 billion through last year’s Black Friday sales and promotions, which was up by a billion from the amount spent in 2012. Even though the figures this year represented a decrease, mostly due to protests about the Ferguson case around the country,it’s still an exorbitantly high figure. 
When a store chalks up a profit on Black Friday weekend, they are granted the license to mark their prices up for the rest of the holiday season. So basically, by stuffing their shopping carts with every purchasable item on Black Friday, shoppers are simply making their future shopping more expensive.
And that’s not all that’s despicable about this day; there have been many casualties and injuries brought about by Black Friday shopping. Four years ago in New York, a Walmart employee was trampled to death by overzealous shoppers. The same thing happened in Green Acres Mall, Long Island, in 2008.
In California, in the midst of thousands of other shoppers, two men pulled out guns and shot each other. In a related incident, an eight month- pregnant woman had to be hospitalized with serious injuries as well as a miscarriage after being crushed by rushing shoppers.
With the riots that come with Black Friday, as many as five people die yearly. This statistic would most probably rise if the amount of shoppers who died after looking at their January credit card bill was added.
But seriously, what happened to this being the season of being thankful? Why has the meaning of Thanksgiving been bastardized to now represent the very crux of capitalist behavior?