Extravagant Thanksgiving meals are often not the only thing being planned for this long holiday weekend. Families often pull out weekly advertisements from stores and surf the web, scouting for the best deals on Black Friday. Some balance their checkbooks, scraping for every penny before they brave crowds of hundreds in the frenzy of shopping on this day.
On Black Friday, many different kinds of shoppers come out: some focus in on one special item, others try to finish all of their Christmas shopping in one day, and the remaining just like to take advantage of great deals no matter what they are buying. The amount of time customers will devote to finding one or more items can be quite extreme, such as camping outside of a store for a day or spending the night on a storeroom floor.
In the frenzy of Black Friday, there are also shoppers who can turn violent over some of the smallest items. At one local store, a woman broke another person’s nose after she allegedly tried stealing her bath towels out of her cart.
“The woman didn’t hesitate,” Brandy Travis, a fellow Black Friday shopper said. “It was just a short jab straight to the nose. I just couldn’t believe it was over bath towels.”
Last year, a woman sprayed mace at multiple shoppers who wanted the same item, a temporary Walmart associate was trampled to death when opening the doors to let shoppers in, and a man was shot in a parking lot while protecting his family from muggers waiting for successful Black Friday shoppers.
Besides the physical violence, it is also argued that Black Friday takes away from family Thanksgiving traditions. Black Friday used to start at midnight on Thanksgiving, but now more and more sales start at 10 or even 8 Thanksgiving evening.
“I think that Black Friday is going to end up being all day on Thanksgiving,” Alexis Soelider, a Black Friday participant and mother of two said. “With certain stores starting earlier, other stores will try and compete, and the times will just become earlier and earlier.”
If Black Friday sales start earlier some say the meaning of Thanksgiving will be replaced with violent, chaotic shopping that can leave people irritated. The expectation of saving money, will keep many shoppers battling the crowds.
“I would much rather be at home right now fighting my mom for the last piece of pumpkin pie but I don’t have a choice,” Travis said. “If I am going to be able to get anyone I love Christmas presents or be able to get a couple items I need, this is when I need to do it because I can afford it.”
While Travis is not the only Black Friday shopper who feels this way, others have decided to work with what they have.
“My family and I have made a tradition out of Black Friday sales,” Maria Imhoff, University of Missouri sophomore and Black Friday shopper said. “We do the whole turkey dinner with the big family and then a few of us go out and hit the stores together.”
Some customers can choose whether to participate in Black Friday sales, but most sales associates do not have that choice. Most large corporate stores have multiple policies just over this day of shopping. Usually every employee has to work it, and the majority of them have to work double or 12-hour shifts.
“I had planned on going home to see the family and just not come back for a couple days, since I had the weekend off,” said Clint Jones, a sales associate. “But at the last minute they changed my schedule and I had to leave within three hours of getting home just so that I could get back in time.”
This situation is common among sales associates and causes many families to be disappointed on this day. Unlike shoppers, employees don’t have a choice and must make do with the time they can take with their families, however limited that may be.
Black Friday fever takes hold of millions of shoppers, but some may begin to consider the true cost of grabbing those bargains.