US should put an end to Black Friday

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Summer Fitzgerald | Northern Star

A Black Friday sign in the window of a store.

Parker Otto, Columnist

Even during a pandemic, one tradition that absolutely refuses to die is Black Friday shopping. Online spending for Black Friday this year is projected to be over $200 billion, according to a report from Adobe Analytics. However, as an event, Black Friday needs to end because of how it negatively affects both consumers and retail workers.

While many consumers can point to rare instances of deaths on Black Friday or the overall insanity of shoppers, Black Friday is just a stressful day. As someone who has worked retail on Black Friday, everyone involved is miserable as customers are running through the aisles looking for the best prices while an exhausted workforce tries to help as many people as possible.

“It’s a good excuse for companies to make more money and sell more stuff,” said Gavin Dardis, a senior majoring in communications. Dardis has been working at Marshalls and HomeGoods for two years.

Instead of keeping large sales to just one day or week of the holiday season, there should be a bigger push for online deals and a wider range for sales that will help prevent the infamous crowds of shoppers. Thankfully, some of this has already begun, correlating with international shipping issues, holiday sales and advertisements already being laid out. 

Stores are also placing emphasis on online spending, with it increasing by 29% on Black Friday in 2020. Online purchases are expected to increase even more this year, as are curbside pickups, according to Adobe Analytics.

“It’s a relatively smart idea to not have people trampling over each other to get stuff,” Dardis said. “Consumers, I imagine, will be less stressed.”

Having sales over November and December will not only reduce the number of customers in a store at any given time, but it will also greatly reduce the stress felt by both retail workers and consumers. In-person shopping might also be affected by both inflation and supply shortages. Due to these horrors for consumers, in-demand products will be hard to find and total savings might not be as high as previous years, according to the report from Adobe Analytics. 

Unlike shopping seasons before the COVID-19 pandemic, many retail giants will be closed on Thanksgiving. Among these stores include Best Buy, Target and Kohl’s. No more will retail workers have to fret over working a shift when they could be spending the holiday with their family.

But no matter how many changes are made, as long as Black Friday exists, it’s only going to be an unpleasant experience that people pretend is enjoyable. 

I find Black Friday especially bizarre because Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family and friends. Spending the day after Thanksgiving rushing through stores amid a hellish environment of consumerism seems counterproductive to giving thanks. 

While I love shopping for gifts for my family, it just doesn’t seem fair to stress out myself, fellow shoppers and retail workers by scavenging the aisles for a new television.