To many people, Black Friday is one of the most important holidays of the year, despite not being officially recognized. For stores, this means offering huge discounts on technology, clothing, and potential gifts. Over the years, Black Friday has become almost infamous for the large stampedes and crazy fights over cheap deals. According to a CNN report, over 99 million people participated in the frenzy of shopping in 2017.
However, there is a growing fear that Black Friday’s popularity will bring about the negative effects of American consumerism. In recent years, stores began opening on Thanksgiving night in order to meet the increasing demands of their customers.
For sophomore Lydia Wei, this detracts from the true meaning of Thanksgiving. “On Thanksgiving, you are supposed to be with your family and be grateful for what you have, but Black Friday takes more of consumerist approach,” she explained. “This causes people to want more and more which reflects the materialistic mindset of this country as a whole.”
On the other hand, junior Isha Yardi believes that Black Friday can bring families closer together as they shop. “Some people, like me, go shopping with family, so it gives us a time to bond. Black Friday is something fun to do with your friends and family after Thanksgiving dinner, and it helps you get out of the food coma that everyone experiences,” Yardi said.
Throughout the years, Black Friday has expanded from a one day event into an integral part of the Thanksgiving holiday. Many stores now continue their Black Friday sales through Cyber Monday, sometimes lasting up to an entire week.
However, Senior Baquini Iman-Santoso believes that the fervor of Black Friday has died down, and attributes this to the growing popularity of shopping online. “Considering nowadays everyone does everything online, I think people are more inclined to stick to Cyber Monday,” he explained. “Cyber Monday is more convenient, as you can shop from the comfort of your home which helps you avoid the enormous crowds on Black Friday.”
Sophomore Elizabeth Mao noted that, as a result of the growing popularity of Cyber Monday, Black Friday has become more enjoyable for her. “A lot of people say that Black Friday is really crowded, but I don’t feel that way because more people shop online now,” she said. “Cyber Monday takes the hype out of Black Friday because people are afraid of getting trampled after hearing crazy stories from the news. I usually go shopping in New Jersey, and there are never swarms of people.”
Other students feel Black Friday is merely an unnecessary event that follows Thanksgiving. Uninterested in the shopping frenzy, junior Kidus Yared does not take part in any Black Friday traditions. “I just like staying at home, celebrating with my family. For me, there’s Thanksgiving and the next day is just Thanksgiving part two,” he said.
Nevertheless, for RM students, the holidays are a time to be with family, regardless of how it is spent. “In this time of year where the holidays are coming, it is important to spend time with your family and to truly bond with others,” junior Lanchi Nguyen said. “It does not matter the way in which you strengthen your relationships, whether it be through Black Friday shopping or Thanksgiving dinner; all that really counts is the love that is given and spread.”
Featured photo by Michelle Ling