When people around the world see pictures of shoppers on the day after the American holiday of Thanksgiving, commonly known as Black Friday, they are seeing just one side of this multi-faceted story. While the retailers rake in the cash selling items at tremendous discounts, shoppers are left with the task of determining just how much they are willing to sacrifice to get these great deals.
Sacrificing Their Lives
The darkest side to Black Friday is that people have died in the pursuit of deals. To put that in perspective, people have sacrificed their lives to get a couple of hundred dollars off on a television or major appliance. According toBlackFridayDeathCount.com, seven people have died and 98 people have been injured at Black Friday events around the world. The deaths have been the result of people being trampled, shot and run over by drivers who fell asleep at the wheel.
Sacrificing The Holiday
The American need for great deals has expanded from Black Friday to the holiday of Thanksgiving itself. Every year, millions of Americans forgo the holiday meant to give thanks for family and good health, and instead spend that time sitting in a tent in the parking lot of a national chain department store. The images of people camping out in parking lots instead of being home with their families disgust many Americans, but is the problem as bad as people say it is?
According to the National Retail Federation, approximately 136 million people planned on shopping during the Thanksgiving weekend. Of those shoppers, nearly 30 million planned on shopping instead of being with family on Thanksgiving Day. To many people, this is just one sign that Americans have signed over their very souls to commercialism.
Stores Are Not Having The Effect They Wanted
According to a 2014 study done by Georgetown University, almost all consumers will shop at their favorite stores on Black Friday, while less than five percent of consumers get their shopping information from social media.
While stores pour millions of dollars into advertising on television and on social media, the truth is that they are only appealing to people who will be at their stores anyways. That makes spending money on Black Friday a waste for consumers and retailers.
Expectation Versus Reality
Because of the massive amount of advertising that goes on before Black Friday, consumers know what types of deals they will be looking for. However, most consumers fail to read the fine print that tells them how many of those flat screen televisions for $99 will actually be available on Black Friday.
In most cases, the deals that thousands of people line up for at stores around the world are only available to a very limited number of people. Many consumers may line up for a day or two to get a great deal on a video game console, but they are out of luck if they are 11th in line and the store only has 10 units. Much of the anger and chaos created by Black Friday has its genesis with these limited deals and the strong desire consumers have to save money.
Self-Gifting Is On The Rise
According to CNN Money, six out of every 10 shoppers who shop on Black Friday are buying for themselves. Not only has the consumer culture ruined a perfectly good holiday, but it has also created a segment of the population that has lost track of what it means to give gifts during the holiday season.
When you put all of the information together, it is difficult to find anything good about Black Friday. People may revel in the money they saved on a television or washing machine, but the number of people who have died and the rise of self-gifting shines a bleak light on this annual practice.