Ziel: We should not recognize Black Friday

Renee Ziel

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Black Friday is creeping up on us, leading us to the season of holiday sales. Students, most of whom are struggling financially, are naturally more inclined to pursue the heavy discounts offered during this post-Thanksgiving shopping storm.


Black Friday is a horrible day and a horrible sentiment to continue as a society. That’s not to say we shouldn’t recognize it at all — although that would be ideal — but that we could at least be doing much better.

During Thanksgiving, it’s a tradition in the United States to be grateful for the people and things in our lives. The day after supposedly being thankful and spending quality time with family and friends, we literally trample each other for sales based on materialistic desires.

In fact, Black Friday is so dangerous that there’s a website dedicated to keeping track of reported deaths and injuries that occur on Black Friday. Since recording began in 2006, the website has reported 12 deaths and 117 injuries, with links to some of the related articles.

U.S. News put together a slideshow in 2012, which naturally doesn’t count occurrences since then, that lists 10 events where people were trampled to death by crowds, fights injured bystanders and property was destroyed. It’s as if people lose all sense of compassion and civilization when it comes to sales.

It’s also evident from these slideshows and articles that people are waiting around until midnight just to storm these places. There are also numerous mildly appalling articles online advising people on how to camp out for Black Friday.

Some of these people may be missing out on spending time with their families for it, too. And what about retail workers, who already inherently deal with hardship, losing their Thanksgivings?

The day after supposedly being thankful and spending quality time with family and friends, we literally trample each other for sales based on materialistic desires.”

Camping out is also another problem in and of itself. Some northern states suffer from freezing temperatures in late November. It may stop people from getting important, last-minute Thanksgiving supplies. Waiting around to get inside may also increase competitiveness in some people and make the situation more violent when the doors open.

There are other ways to save money. Shopping out of season is only one. Many stores also offer Cyber Monday the Monday after Thanksgiving, which is significantly more safe for shoppers — you can save from the warmth of your own home. It also offers more deals overall.

The other catch to Black Friday, as written by Duncan Financial Group, is that it’s not the only day you can save money, and stores will sometimes aim to deceive customers into thinking they save more than they really do. They may also have intentionally low stock.


Moreover, people tend to impulse buy, and I say with certainty that many of us have done it at least once. There are also people that tend to buy just because something is on sale, which encourages overspending during the holiday season, especially Thanksgiving week.

Black Friday also holds the significance of “voting with your dollar.” A previous article I wrote highlighted the importance of supporting local businesses and why that is both politically and economically vital. In some cases, you are giving your money directly to companies that may be morally problematic — this extends to them taking advantage of shoppers during Black Friday.

Lastly, an excellent alternative is for the stores to just close their doors. It seems as if REI Co-op stands alone in this endeavor, but, according to the REI Newsroom, the “nation’s largest … specialty outdoor retailer” has chosen to close on Black Friday every year since 2015 on the basis of inspiring people to get outside instead. They close all 151 locations and pay their workers on the holiday for an #OptOutside movement.

Perhaps it’s time that we collectively follow this company’s example and opt outside — or just otherwise — on Black Fridays. This violence-filled, consumerist holiday is simply not worth the sacrifice of our money, time and health.

Renee Ziel can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @reneezwrites.