Black Friday: It’s the scariest time of the year

Matt Busekroos

I hate Black Friday.

The day after Thanksgiving should be a day to celebrate the holiday season, eat leftovers from Thanksgiving and even find some exciting shopping deals. Instead, Black Friday is marred by unscrupulous sales employees and aggressive customers who will push and shove their way to get what they want. Is this really what the holiday season is all about?

Shoppers spent an estimated $45 billion this year with approximately 212 million people buying in stores or via their websites, according to the National Retail Federation. Both figures have increased from 2009.

This year, I was one of the 212 million people who participated in the shopping frenzy, and it was one of the most miserable mornings I’ve ever experienced. I have never shopped on Black Friday before, but I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Now I know, and never again will I trudge out during the early morning hours for a so-called “deal.”

At 1 a.m. Friday, I traveled to Target with both of my parents. Yes, 1 a.m. Despite not opening until 4 a.m., my mother insisted we leave early.

“What are we going to do as we stand in line for three hours?” I asked.

“We’re going to bond,” my mom said.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t detect a hint of irony in her voice.

Yes, bond. All together, we would bond over the hideousness that is the mass consumption and consumerism of Black Friday, which plagues those of us who went out that morning. We fell for the bargains and need to purchase the must-have items of the season. And at what cost was it worth?

Despite not opening for three more hours, a line of approximately 30 shoppers stood or sat next to the front entrance. And here I thought my parents were insane, but there were several others who couldn’t resist the sweet temptation of a fine deal.

As I stood in line with the crazies, I overheard several people talking about what they planned to purchase. Popular items included televisions and video game consoles like the Wii and Xbox.

Between the rain, sleet and 38 degree temperature, waiting outside for three hours wasn’t worth it. When the doors finally opened, people rushed toward electronics. Employees handed televisions out one at a time. I was close enough to receive one. However, those customers further back in line outside came in and rushed the area hauling off with all the 40-inch televisions. I left the store with nothing except for a nasty cold that left me bed-ridden for several days.

I appreciate what businesses try to do on Black Friday. They promote a certain deal to lure customers to their store. In turn, they only hold a limited amount in stock so shoppers continue to linger around their store hoping they buy something. It’s underhanded and brilliant. But, it’s also disgusting to see abhorrent behavior from fellow bargain hunters who will shove their carts and claw their way to get what they want for these one-time deals.

It’s a nice feeling to give gifts to people you love, but the frenetic period the day after Thanksgiving until the day after Christmas is intolerable.

Maybe I’m just a stingy Grinch, but the corporations stole Christmas.