ANNA’S CORNER: Black Friday defeats the whole purpose of Thanksgiving

Around October every year, I start to feel mildly annoyed every time I go in a store. Seeing the aisles decked out in red and green doesn’t really make me feel festive, as I don’t really like it when stores try to convince me that I’ll have a more pleasant Christmas if I buy all their ornaments, candy, gifts, lights, and plastic reindeer. Maybe I wouldn’t mind so much if they didn’t start selling all the Christmas products three months in advance.

But just before Thanksgiving, it gets worse. Every time I’ve turned on the TV over the last week, Walmart has begged me to give them my money. Every time the commercial comes on, I wonder if anyone could see it without thinking of the person who died in a Walmart on Black Friday in 2008. If crowds are actually so desperate to get into stores that they overlook the fact that they’re killing someone, I think I’ll stay home.

For me, Thanksgiving break means reading, petting my cats, eating huge amounts of good food, and walking by the river with my family. And also sleeping. A lot. I might be missing out on part of the holiday experience, because I’ve never gone shopping on Black Friday. However, I can’t say I’m particularly torn up about that.

Sales are perfectly nice, but I guess I just don’t love saving money enough to drag myself off the couch the day after a holiday to deal with mobs of people willing to trample each other for the cheapest Christmas gifts.

I find it ironic that, immediately after a day that’s supposed to be dedicated to gratitude, millions of people go into a crazed frenzy to acquire more stuff.

But principles aside, I just don’t quite get why people would rather rush around a store than lie at home eating leftover pie. I spend a very large portion of my life rushing, so I can’t imagine for the life of me reason to drag myself to Walmart while I’m still in a food coma.

I doubt that the employees who work for stores like Walmart are particularly excited about Black Friday either. If I were working for one of those stores, I would be especially angry this year. Several chains of stores are opening on Thanksgiving Day, hoping to profit even more than usual from the holidays. As if times meant to be about family haven’t already been sufficiently commercialized.

I’m going to be hurrying from store to store soon enough trying to find gifts for all my friends and family. The places I avoid on Black Friday are going to get my money anyway; I can’t avoid that. But for me, holidays should be a break from the normal commercial madness, not an even crazier extension of it.


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