Black Friday is what you make it

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Tis’ the season for holiday cheer and broken toes! Shoppers will be hurt and tensions will be high.

Why is it that on the day we gather together to give thanks for everything we have, we burst through doors to try to get stuff we may not really need? It’s ironic. Of course, this always has been the issue with Black Friday, but now the issue is growing.

Instead of the sales starting at midnight, now the sale times are starting earlier and earlier. We might as well call it Black Thursday, because those sales are not actually starting on Friday. According to Target’s Black Friday preview catalog, the doors open at 6 p.m. Yeah, you read that correctly, 6 p.m. Wal-Mart offers three waves of sales, 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thursday, then the last wave at 6 a.m. on Friday morning.

Imagine waiting outside for hours and then you finally get through the doors of the department store. You go straight to the HD TVs and they’re all gone. You waited all that time for nothing. Even if you do get the cheap TV, imagine the line. Lines on Black Friday have become more and more ridiculous. Last year, the line at Target twisted through the aisles. In my cart, we had four DVD’s and a bag of chips. Of course, if you have something good enough, you can handle it, but do you really want to waste your time for two hours in line? By going Black Friday shopping, you are taking risks. I understand that some families are tight with money and for fulfilling Christmas in their home, they need to find the cheapest way. If that means going to Best Buy at 5 p.m. on Thursday and then coming back to celebrate with turkey afterwards, by all means do that. It’s about family on the holidays; so just don’t lose sight on whom you love and why you love them.

Also, college kids are broke. According to the Institute for College Access & Success, Indiana has an average student debt of $29,000 in 2014. Students also need more than just their education. What about books, supplies, room and board and laptops? Students can find the best deal on these Black Friday sales. You can barely walk through Schwitzer without seeing an Apple. Best Buy has MacBook Pros for $899. By the way, if you want to fit in with the rest of campus, that’s your ticket in. But if you want to stick out and be different, go to Best Buy and get the touch screen Dell laptop for $300. Black Friday isn’t always one-sided. I hope you can see both ways.

Along with Black Friday is Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is used to describe the Monday following Thanksgiving. So basically certain deals are only for online shoppers. Here is why I find Cyber Monday so exciting: no lines. Like I mentioned earlier, I do not like lines. It is highly likely that if I see a line start to form, and I’m in the back of it, I am leaving.

Cyber Monday is like black Friday without the madness. I mean, hey, the worst thing that would happen is that the website can’t handle the large numbers of people and it crashes. No broken bones there.  Sometimes the deals are even better online than in stores. High-end designer Lilly Pulitzer offers free items each hour with any purchase on her site. I know many college students who would take up a deal like that.

Cyber Monday seems like a good idea to the stay-at-home moms, but what about us? I am a fan of Cyber Monday, but college students don’t usually have access to the great deals, along with working adults. Just because there is a good sale doesn’t mean that’s a good excuse to get out of class. By no means do I think Black Friday is unethical and ruthless. I personally think Black Friday is a great time to create memories. In my family, we have a tradition of Black Friday shopping.

We gather on Thursday afternoon, eat a delicious homemade meal prepared by Grandma, and then watch the men in the family pass out on the couch while watching football. The women look through the holiday catalogs and decide on the plan for the night. Whether it is what store, the item, or who’s driving, we plan it all afternoon. We may eat leftover turkey for dinner and then relax before the madness begins. I have many countless memories of late-night shopping and humorous inside jokes.

Lastly, let’s remember the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving. We celebrate family and what we are thankful for. Don’t forget that while you’re shopping down the aisles trying to find the cheapest iPad. Remember what you have and how lucky you are. Let’s celebrate Thanksgiving and Black Friday with laughs and love, instead of broken toes and empty wallets.

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