Black Friday Madness: Is it Worth it?


Kyla Wells, Reporter

The day after Thanksgiving, also called Black Friday, is known for its’ unbeatable prices and chaotic surplus of customers for retailers ranging in clothing to electronics. Starting in 1952, this “holiday” is seen as the beginning of Christmas shopping season as has been celebrated ever since. Its main goal is to accommodate to those who already have time off of work because of Thanksgiving and are gearing up for the holidays. Year after year, stores begin their sales and open their doors from 5-6:00 A.M., with that time getting earlier as the years go on: some stores even host the night of Thanksgiving and give customers lots of time to soak up the deals. It is now common to see sales the week/ weekend of Thanksgiving which are even available online. The acclaimed holiday has its benefits, but are they worth the disarray, worker walkouts, and injuries?

If you’ve never experienced Black Friday for yourself, let me paint the picture. Hundreds of people lined up, maybe even camped out, outside of their desired store until the doors open. Huge crowds flood the corridor and trample other customers and workers. All having one end goal: to pick up a new Xbox or pair of shoes. Since 2006, there have been 12 reported deaths and 117 injuries concerning Black Friday. These stats are just in the United States, while nearly 20 other countries observe the occasion.

At this rate, it is hoped that retailers would take preventative measures to keep the customers safe. In 2009, OSHA issued crowd control guidelines for vendors to limit casualties. Store owners have a responsibility to keep their premises safe and adequate for shoppers, so if those standards aren’t met, they could have a claim filed against them if someone were to get hurt.

Another danger that can result from Black Friday shopping is identity theft. The percentage of theft is increased during this time because of stolen personal items. To protect against this, shoppers can remove all social security numbers and be vigilant in big crowds.

Adding to the chaos of Black Friday is worker strikes. During this time of year, working conditions can get inhumane, which triggers workers to walk out and protest these conditions. An example of a recent occurrence is Amazon. Just a few days ago, Amazon employees across Europe went on strike to protest the cruel working conditions, with their slogan “We are not robots”. Lots of preparation must go into the holiday season, and with workers on their wit’s end, no one is happy.

All in all, Black Friday has grown tremendously throughout the years, and consumers seem to adapt to it and request more. The idea that it’s based upon is concrete and so are the prices, but behind the benefits are downfalls, and the question remains: is Black Friday worth it?