From gratitude to greed


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Black Friday draws thousands for the rush shopping experience every year.

Black Friday sucks.

It isn’t a secret.  It sucks in the kind of way you can’t help but love to hate.  It’s the kind of twisted, slightly tortuous fun that everyone complains about without fail while sitting on the couch after Thanksgiving dinner, too lazy to shop and too bored to sit around watching football.  But if we all really hate Black Friday shopping so much, what strange force compels us to stand in line outside of Target for five hours in the cold?  Is it the same mysterious power that convinces us we need another TV when the three at home work perfectly fine?

I’ve only been Black Friday shopping twice.  The first time was at a Walmart in the middle of West Virginia.  It was pretty much the only place to shop in the entire town, and I still clearly remember watching a fistfight between two grown men over a giant pink teddy bear.  The second time was better, but just barely. The air conditioning shut off in the mall and, needless to say, no air combined with the overwhelming smell of Bath and Body Works and about a hundred people packed into line is a very appealing shopping experience.  

But honestly, no matter how much Black Friday shopping may eat away at my soul, there’s nothing I’d rather do than stampede into a Best Buy to get that last iPad off the shelf at two in the morning.  It’s the most blatant, indulgent kind of greed that coincidentally comes directly after an entire day dedicated to gratitude and family, and somehow it works. Our idolization of Black Friday has unfortunately started closing in on Thanksgiving Day (is nothing sacred???) but somehow, despite everything, the sheer fun of shopping for hours rivals even the most generous and thankful of hearts.  Materialism and selfishness may be the face of the Black Friday stereotype, but let’s be honest- how many of us are actually in it for the stuff?

Obviously, if you are in it for the stuff, Cyber Monday shopping is infinitely better.  Scrolling through Amazon in bed with a cup of hot tea stands in stark contrast to the feet-aching, bag-lugging, chaotic exhaustion that Black Friday will inevitably bring.  But like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, Black Friday has become one of those days that carries the mentality of the holiday season, a tradition of avarice and fun.  It may not be the understandable kind of fun, but personally, I’ll take fistfights and heat waves over peaceful, borderline boring online shopping any day. In the end, it’s not the deals, it’s the experience.  If you’re really in it for the shopping, then Cyber Monday it is. But Black Friday is an irreplaceable kind of social bonding and adrenaline, the kind you have to see to believe and experience to understand.