Black Friday 2015: Madness or Genius?

 

It is 3 o’clock on Thanksgiving and like every Thanksgiving, it is time to eat. Thanksgiving Thursday, being a holiday of family, being a symbol of grace, centers around family and the very idea of being together. The lives lived apart every other day in the year come and join as one on this day over the meal of tradition and memories. Yet this year, the Thanksgiving of 2015 is celebrated by many just outside the Old Navy store in a mid-size Connecticut mall.

 

In a line scattered with about 30 people, the shoppers rest on the floor, waiting minute after minute for the glass doors to open. Of course, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, they talk to each other about football and turkey which is meanwhile being watched and eaten without them. They understand that they, being absent from their own celebration, must create another one right there, at Old Navy, and serve as each other’s makeshift families for the day. Created by these shoppers is their own holiday of life and joy at the festive scene of the concrete floor outside of the Old Navy.

 

These shoppers of the utmost thoughtful preparedness all read about the Black Friday of 2015 in the lively colored printed flyers of the newspaper. They learned all about the PS4 sold for forty dollars cheaper at Walmart, about the Avengers action figures for $4.99 at Kmart, and especially about the contest at Old Navy. Not only the contest for the last medium sweater in cornflower blue, but also a contest to win one million dollars. Only the first fifty people would have their chance at walking out of Old Navy a millionaire. The chances were, as profusely advertised, the best odds for winning. One award of a million dollars and only about two thousand people in total standing in line at participating Old Navy stores. And so upon arrival of these shoppers, they began to wonder why only about thirty people, out of the thousands and thousands of people who had to have heard about such contest, did not wait at the doors with them, 4pm on Thanksgiving Thursday.

 

In truth, Black Friday of 2015 marked a new level of “bargain hunting”. Many other stores, aside from Old Navy, opened at 4 o’clock on Thanksgiving evening. Black Friday truly goes to a point far beyond a day of sales opening the season of Christmas shopping. It has begun to question truly how far people will go and how much of their holiday they are willing to sacrifice. It seems like many years ago when the stores would open at 4 o’clock the morning of Black Friday yet the whole opening stores on the night of Black Friday trend began only about three or four years ago when some stores decided to open at midnight. The opening times then steadily and surely got earlier.
To continue with the discussion of the evolution of Black Friday over the years, police officers now stand outside stores to ensure that people behave themselves. Quite honestly, I do not think that Black Friday cannot be simplified into the complete epitome of everything wrong with America. Rather is somewhat speaks to the competition and the need of everyone, stores and shoppers, to win. The very thrill of getting a television for hundreds of dollars cheaper than list price is not something to be neglected, a fact which the retail powerhouses know by heart. The feeling of being ahead, the feeling of knowing a secret that no one else knows, is what people fight for on Black Friday. With this in mind, perhaps our Old Navy shoppers will peruse the racks at 3 o’clock next year.