Black Friday: A Dark Day Indeed

Written by
Published on November 24, 2014

Black Friday, your yearly dose of economic irrationality and a dark day indeed.

It’s Thanksgiving night and thousands of people are gathering together, not to spend time with their families and give thanks, but to get great bargains at their favorite stores. Thanksgiving hasn’t even officially ended and already parking spots are filling up and lines are beginning to form, Black Friday is upon us. The busiest shopping day of the year and a day dreaded by store workers across the nation.

“I make sure I book that day off as early in the year as possible,” says Wendy Thomas, a worker at the popular TJ Maxx store in Shelton. “It’s complete hell. I want no part of it. Nobody ever actually wants to work it, It’s just a matter of who books it off first.”

For many years, it was common for retailers to open their doors to lines of people at 6:00 a.m, but now unfortunately for store workers all over the nation’s common chains such as Target, Kohls, Macy’s, Best Buy, and Toys R Us have started opening at midnight.

While workers dread it, shoppers love it. Some families even see it as a part of their holiday tradition, participating solely to experience the complete madness and maybe pick up some gifts along the way.

“My sister and I wake up early, put some booze in our coffee and have fun with it,” said Kayla Gonzales. “I don’t take it seriously, but I have gotten some great deals.”

Great deals indeed, but at what cost? On Black Friday 2012, two people were shot outside a Wal-Mart in Florida during a fight over a parking space. On Black Friday in 2013 at the Franklin Mills Mall in Pennsylvania a fight was caught on camera where a woman was pulled to the ground. The video also caught a separate possibly related fight happening simultaneously in the background. Besides the violence there’s also huge crowds, endless lines, pushing, shoving and all around anxiety from morning to night.

While stressful and sometimes even dangerous if you’re willing to fight for it Black Friday, deals can have their perks.

“Best Buy has an Vizio HD tv screen for sale this Black Friday that I’m going to try and get, it’s normally over a thousand dollars but this year its going for $499.” Todd Henry reveals.

You have to be careful though, sometimes people get so caught up in the race for great deals that they forget to read the small print, an employee at a Best Buy store who asked to remain anonymous confesses.

“One thing people don’t realize is that although they might be name brand companies they are usually one off models that are available only on Black Friday, it makes me question the quality.”

When people buy something expensive, they tend to overlook its flaws in order to justify spending the money. On Black Friday buyers are actually emotionally invested after standing in line for hours, enduring cold, dark misery for the shot at cheap electronics.

The Best Buy Employee goes on to say, “Also Black Friday may be the best time to find discounts on some things, but quantities are limited, so the odds of getting those items pretty slim.”

So attention Black Friday shoppers, you’re probably wasting your time.

Besides shoddy quality considering the economy is the way it is, can people even afford to be spending all of their money on these so called ‘great deals’ this holiday season?

According to the National Retail Federation, the average holiday shopper spent a little less than $770 last year for Christmas and  it predicts a total increase in holiday spending of just over 4% for this year. Getting caught up in all this Black Friday hype shoppers could find themselves with ‘sticker shock’ (or unexpected debt from overspending.) A new study from warns that families in the $50,000 to $75,000 income bracket won’t pay off their debts for an average of nearly three months. Poorer families will pay off their debts a little more quickly, in an average of two months.

“Middle-class households can fall into a costly situation this holiday season, where they’ve been extended ample credit but have incomes too thin to comfortably pay the bills later,” warns NerdWallet senior retail analyst Matthew Ong. “Many are still struggling to reconcile a typically middle-class standard of living with stagnant incomes.” People get so sucked into the ‘holiday spirit’ that they end up digging themselves into a financial grave.

Of course, if you love the rush of Black Friday and have gotten great deals in the past this is probably falling on deaf ears. Like telling somebody with a gambling problem it’s unhealthy you will be blinded by that one off win. In which case, good luck. You’ll need it.