If news programs the day after Thanksgiving are any indication, there seems to be a jump in violence and tragedy in those hours after everyone has recovered from digesting their turkey and stuffing.
It seems all I ever hear about are those terrible instances where people are trampled fighting to get into a Wal-Mart or freeze while sleeping outside for a week to save a hundred bucks on a television. As a result, a great deal of my friends end up telling me that I am insane for going shopping on Black Friday.
Now, there is certainly evidence to support that theory, but not much of it should be based around the apparently rampant violence that consumes people on the day after Thanksgiving.
The deals do start at midnight, or even earlier in some cases, stores only carry a handful of the best advertised deals, and a lot of what items are on sale are derivative, second-tier things that, while perhaps not junk, are certainly not things that people would consider buying at any other point in the year — Wal-Mart’s bargain televisions, for instance.
At least those are
better reasons to stay home, but they’re still not good enough for me.
No, I am a dedicated Black Friday shopper, although a tier below those who camp outside of Best Buy and other stores for an entire week.
Why? It’s fun. The deals are the secondary goal.
Let’s face it, the vast majority of people who show up to Best Buy Thanksgiving night expecting that front-page TV deal are going to be disappointed.
The stores don’t always carry enough for everyone, and those who set their tent up by the entrance a week ago are going to snatch the available ones up.
On the other hand, whoever goes to the store to get a good deal on some movies or video games will probably get what they are after and won’t need to fight through a mob or camp out in advance to do it.
Stores are also getting better about handling those giant mobs that the news stations love to picture in broadcasts. This certainly might vary by region, but those large crowds just do not form very often. Wal-Mart staggers its deals by a few hours to allow people to pick up what they want and check out before those hunting the next bargain move in, which thins the herd considerably.
It helps that big-box stores have a lot of floor space, too; they sometimes can put out more sale items in an area outside of the normal section featuring big sales on a given product. My local Wal-Mart set up shelves of video games in the children’s clothing department, for instance.
But what is the point of going out to get these things when Black Friday sales are online now, too?
Well, one reason might be that the particular sale you’re interested in is “in-store only,” but I would add that the physical act of shopping adds a bit of value to the acquisition. That, and the night of standing in line waiting to buy that new monster TV will be the most exercise you get in a long while if you’re going to get your money’s worth.
To really get the most out of Black Friday, though, your night cannot be just about the promotions. Friends and family should be a part of the experience.
You would probably prefer standing in the cold with people you know than complete strangers, right?
Thanksgiving is a time for reconnecting, and talking is just about the only thing to do while standing in a line.
I went shopping with friends from back home that I’ll now only see a few times a year. And anyone who saw us chatting it up while we were first in line outside the Five Below at 5 a.m. could immediately see that Black Friday is not some consumerist tumor engulfing the wholesomeness of Thanksgiving — or, at least, that’s not all it is.
That wonderful day when people lose their minds over things they probably don’t even want is also a great way to spend time with people you care about.
Garrett Cimina is a freshman majoring in finance and is a Daily Collegian columnist. Email him at email@example.com.