Black Friday Promises Disappointment

Ben Nichols, staff writer

Society turns to chaos annually on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It’s the well-known Black Friday, where shoppers pummel each other and trample store employees.


Black Friday amplifies the negative stereotypes that other countries associate with America. The sudden rise of hatred between Americans over a cheap electronic or luxury item is common and often extremely brutal.


The Black Friday Death Count website shows that there have been 10 deaths and 111 injuries from when it first started recording in 2006. The articles listed include “Shopper Pepper Sprayed, Arrested in Argument Over TV at New Jersey Walmart,” and “Black Friday Altercation in Kmart Leaves Man With Shattered Hip.”


These statistics only go to show how brutal Americans can be over saving a few dollars. The violence surrounding Black Friday only serves to amplify the negative aspects of culture in our country. It’s a common fact that those in other countries like to pick on Americans, and Black Friday is a perfect time for the stereotypes to come out in full force.


Most believe that the name Black Friday was coined from companies “getting out of the red into the black,” or getting out of debt into making a profit. The term actually comes from Philadelphia police officers who had to work extra shifts due to terrible traffic each day after Thanksgiving, before it was adapted to a retail sense. Even back then, someone was out getting jostled around by large crowds.


This doesn’t mean that companies don’t make a lot of money from the day. In fact, 2017 holiday sales from November and December alone totaled $691.9 billion. Black Friday is regarded as the busiest shopping day of the year — and that means large profits for companies.


On top of that, some may argue that there’s more good than harm — that companies need this day to stay out of debt and retain workers. However, the workers in question have their health and happiness pushed aside on Black Friday in the name of more money.


Workers may have to work on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday in long shifts just to appease the crowds. In some stores, they often suffer fatigue from their long hours and injuries from the large crowd. Employees are often unable to even celebrate the holiday with their families, as they have to continue their shifts. In some cases, stores practically remain open for two days straight, which only hurts the workers who already have to deal with the long, chaotic shifts and barely any rest.


In 2008, a Walmart worker at a Long Island, NY store was trampled to death after unlocking the door to his store on Black Friday. Hundreds of people stepped on him in the rush to get items on sale. Even when the police arrived to administer aid, they were still jostled around by the crowd. It took “several minutes” to clear a space and to render aid to the man. He was pronounced dead after being transported to the hospital.


Stories like these show how horrifying Black Friday can be when people are desperate for sales. It’s un-American that customers fight and trample people without caring. All they want is that new flat-screen TV on sale or the nice camera that’s 85% off.


Black Friday can be a day to snag an item someone normally couldn’t afford to have, and online shopping is rising in popularity over physically being at the store — which could potentially reduce the amount of violent incidents. There is no excuse, however, for the chaos that unfolds at stores. Normal Americans will stoop to the level of criminals in an instant on Black Friday, and that’s simply not okay.


Companies often partially or completely disregard what happens in their stores on Black Friday. To those involved with the company, it may feel like they’re being left without support as the company tries to make more profit. On Black Friday, the customer isn’t just right — they’re violent, too.


As stores prepare to open as early as Thursday night this year, it’s important to recognize the consequences Black Friday has on people and the nation as a whole. Black Friday is a day of unwarranted violence and chaos among all Americans. It’s time that people begin to be more civil with Black Friday shopping, and stop this horror once and for all.