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The True Cost of Black Friday Deals

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.–Some people spend the day after Thanksgiving lounging on the couch, listening to Christmas music with their family. Others brave the storm of what is called Black Friday. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, “others” accounts for an estimated 30 million people.
What used to be a fun day of shopping for the best sales the day after Thanksgiving has come to be almost like a horror movie where men and women get trampled, pepper-sprayed, shot, or worse as they head to department stores for a big-screen TV for $200. On top of the violence, people will cut their Thanksgiving short to wait online–sometimes for days–just to get what they want at a cheaper price.
“The store [Best Buy] also allowed groups of 50 people inside every five minutes 20 minutes before doors opened at 5 p.m,” said an article about the shopping holiday on This technique causes people to wait in line for hours or, worse, days.
Monmouth sophomore Faith Garcia was one of the people who braved the Black Friday conditions.
“I went to the Trumbull Mall and got a great deal on a Michael Kors bag that was 20 percent off with another 25 percent off for being a Lord and Taylor card holder,” said Garcia. “Other than the crowds, I thought I had a pretty successful trip.”
Deals like the one Garcia got are great, but the statistics still raise the question: what is the true cost of Black Friday shopping?
Thanksgiving is meant to be spent with family, eating a whole lot of turkey, and gathering to give thanks to the people and things that are important in one’s life. While some shoppers leave as early as 8 p.m. for sales on Thursday night, opponents believe this behavior takes away from the real point of Thanksgiving.
On the other hand, people do find it more important to camp outside of stores for the 75 percent off blender at Target. Although these are in fact great deals, it is questionable to say the great discounts are worth potentially risking lives.

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Gaona
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Gaona

Moreover, stores around the country spend months preparing for this day–and it does not just stop at stores. Anything and everything imagined can be on sale. While commodities like televisions, iPods, and clothes are on sale, so are vacations and everything else under the sun.
“Hotel, airline and other travel websites have entered the fray, holding sales of their own in the hope of steering holiday spending to travel and experiences,” said an article by the New York Times.
As the years have passed, stores have been opening earlier and earlier. Most open up their doors on the evening of Thanksgiving, closing out families’ Thanksgiving dinners earlier for the Black Friday shoppers.
However, there are stores that refuse this absurd “holiday” and the extent to which it has gone. For example, a few stores like T.J.Maxx, Cabela’s, and Costco refuse to open up any earlier than Friday morning.
The employees of these companies and others like them find solace in not being forced to punch in at awful hours to prepare for the retail madness and to cut their Thanksgiving celebrations very short. Workers elsewhere are threatened with termination if they do not show up to work for this holiday.
Black Friday still lives on in the digital realm in the form of Cyber Monday. A significantly safer option, Cyber Monday allows people to buy items online in the comfort and safety of their home. Even though it is supposed to be a sale that begins on the Monday after Thanksgiving, the online holiday discounts associated with it begin days earlier.
Black Friday has turned into a national holiday, but one that is filled with more misery and violence than joy and fun. Although there are times where people have gotten that great bargain with their family and friends, there are down sides as well.
The deals are great, but are the bargains worth the risk? Apparently, with this trend continuing annually, it seems enough people think so.