WEST HARTFORD, Connecticut, U.S.A. – Black Friday has gotten a bad name.
The day after Thanksgiving has traditionally marked the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Businesses employ tactics like doorbusters, giveaways and sales to bring themselves into the black (to turn a profit).
Many Americans look down on Black Friday, perhaps the busiest shopping day of the year.
Crowded stores and heavy traffic plague Black Friday, and crazed shoppers push and shove, sometimes injuring other customers.
This year, a Long Island Wal-Mart clerk was trampled by a stampede of shoppers before the store’s 5 a.m. opening.
Despite these problems, people still show up in droves to find the best deals and work off their turkey comas.
And really, Black Friday isn’t all bad.
Picture this: it’s 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. The full belly and cloudy head, created by ingesting more food than any human being should, are starting to clear.
Instead of returning to a nap, you pick up the newspaper ads. You make a list of what you need, and find the store offering it for the best price. You wake up early the next morning, and coffee in hand, brave the crowds at your store of choice. You leave with the items you needed at a price you can actually afford. Feels pretty good, eh?
Black Friday shopping, if done properly, is actually sort of fun. No, I’m not joking. It feels like embarking on The Amazing Race, a journey to accomplish your task (getting a good deal) despite the roadblocks that will be placed in front of you.
Completing your task is like reaching that final checkpoint and hearing Phil tell you that you’ve won.
With today’s economic woes, holiday shopping is going to be a struggle for many. Even buying necessities is a struggle for many, let alone gifts. Hardworking folks who are having trouble making ends meet are able to buy that blanket they need, or a new sofa, or a book for their child, because they can afford them for this one day.
Black Friday can get out of hand when overzealous shoppers allow greed or materialism to overtake them.
But if you can remember that you’re shopping for good deals on things you actually need and maintain a positive attitude, Black Friday is enjoyable and rewarding.
Leah Igdalsky is a Junior Reporter for Youth Journalism International. YJI’s Mary Majerus-Collins took the photograph.