Healthy holiday consumerism — Black Friday does not have to be a soul-sucking experience

The Thanksgiving holiday is normally a time for comfort with the family but Black Friday has quickly become more of a black hole, sucking in everyone’s gratitude and spitting out corporate greed.

This holiday, take a step back from the door busters.

Every year, hundreds of blog posts proclaim how Black Friday is killing the family time and warm fuzzies produced by Thanksgiving. While there is somewhat of an argument to be made, the real argument against leaving Thanksgiving dinner and shopping for the next twelve or so hours is fairly obvious.

Jonah Baker | Argonaut

Black Friday deals may seem like they cannot be missed, but the disheartening nature of the shopping experience and the availability of alternatives should convince people to stay home.

Last year alone, there were seven different cases of violence and two deaths directly related to Black Friday shopping. Lives are put in danger just because people feel the need to rush and trample over whomever stands in their way to grab hold of a product at a discount that they may not even need.

Beyond the possibility of harm, many stores do not even open until midnight or normal hours Friday. This means many people have to spend their nights camping out on sidewalks to get to the good deals and many employees must spend their holiday night prepping for the influx of consumers.

Even if you just have to get a hold of some of the great deals to jump-start shopping for the holidays, there are plenty of comparable opportunities to get the deals that Black Friday offers.

Young people have been particularly appreciative of Cyber Monday, during which many online retailers offer discounts on everything one could possibly need. According to Fortune, more $3.45 billion in online transactions were made during last year’s Cyber Monday through sales on e-commerce giants like Amazon. These numbers are also derived from the online arms of brick-and-mortar retailers like Target and Walmart. In comparison, $3.34 billion in sales were made on Black Friday in 2016.

Retailers are adapting to customer tendencies by emphasizing their online presences as well. Many different retailers have already started offering large discounts online in hopes that they will be able to capitalize on the buying season at large.

As for the deals themselves, a little research can go a long way. A simple Google search for “best Black Friday deals” provides plenty of great information from sources that know what they’re talking about. Similarly, helpful advice can be found by looking around online for directions to the better online deals, which often come within a respectable distance of the actual deals offered in brick-and-mortar storefronts.

Simply put, Black Friday does not have to be as hysterical as it usually is. There are opportunities to save money on holiday shopping throughout the season, particularly online and in the comfort of one’s own home. There is no reason to stand in line out in the cold and risk life and limb to get a hold of the last $500 TV — the same deal is probably available somewhere online.

Thanksgiving, no doubt, is shadowed by the dull roar of consumerism fostered by Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But, there are plenty of ways to indulge in the deals without subjecting your family to the headaches of a Black Friday spent in overcrowded department stores.

Jonah Baker can be reached at arg-opinion@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @jonahpbaker


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