PondeRing darkness

      54 Comments on PondeRing darkness

I visited the Highline Ballroom the night after Thanksgiving for an “All-Star Tribute to George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh” during which the band performed George’s moving and onerous “Beware of Darkness.”  I later went to lyricsfreak.com to re-visit the song, which seemed terribly appropriate to what we now experience on Thanksgiving.  The lyrics include:

George Harrison warned of being led where we shouldn't go

George Harrison warned of being led where we shouldn’t go

Watch out now, take care
Beware of greedy leaders
They take you where you should not go
While weeping atlas cedars
They just want to grow, grow and grow

I then watched an Eyewitness News report describing horrific fights that broke out at various Walmarts and other stores all over the country, as people mindlessly battled each other for discounted merchandise.

It seems millions of American consumers have become quite irrational about holiday shopping, having been moved to action by “greedy leaders.”  Too many of us are going along with the trend of starting Black Friday earlier and earlier (now 8 p.m.) on Thanksgiving Day. We’re clamoring to join the rush of anxious and sometimes dangerous crowds. In reality, we’re witnessing and sometimes falling victim to dark behavior for the sake of quickly boosting retailers’ bottom lines.

Propagandists believe if you repeat anything often enough, it becomes truth.  Retailers spend lots of advertising dollars to sell products this time of year, in turn obligating the news media to beat the pre-Black Friday drums.  And so we march.  Now, I’m not suggesting that retailers shouldn’t make profits or that we don’t look for bargains this time of year, but the barrage of ads and news stories about starting our holiday shopping on Thanksgiving Day are designed to influence our attitudes and actions.  We’ve become convinced that it’s OK to leave family and friends earlier so we can shop till we drop.

Perhaps we’re being led where we shouldn’t follow.  Thanksgiving was never a day to buy gifts, until the retail gods recently decided otherwise.  George Harrison was right: Beware of those who take us where we should not go.  Your thoughts?

54 thoughts on “PondeRing darkness

  1. Robert Ryan

    I have to say it is pretty sad that Thanksgiving has now become a day to shop, but unfortunately I can’t deny that I was guilty of going out on thanksgiving night to shop for some things. But I went out with my whole family, we didn’t rush around and nobody that was in the mall that I was in got tazed. Although a mall I do visit there was an altercation where a woman was in fact tazed. I feel like everyone is in a rush in today’s society. In a rush to get somewhere first, to be the first to report something, be the first to do something crazy. The holiday season should be about family and enjoying each others company. However, being a college student spending time with my family has dwindled considerably since I came to school. There are better opportunities in Hempstead (go figure) and I don’t go home very often. So when I do go home I’m constantly in a rush to do things I need to get done. Have my mother buy me clothes and food and such (you know the important things). My point is that even though everyone’s in a rush you should still take the time to enjoy everything you do while your doing it. People seem to be in such terrible moods at all times. The holidays are for happiness, not for killing the vibe.

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  2. Francesca Bove

    I personally don’t go Black Friday shopping simply because I am not a night person and I am always to sleepy to particiapte. I think that the idea of Black Friday beginning at midnight it a fun little quirky thing the Americans do and I didn’t really see the harm in it. This was of course until it started to begin earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving day. Beginning at midnight to me is harmless because by midnight most of the holiday celebration is over and families have departed. But at times like 6 and 8 pm families are still clearly together and I think that people leaving their holiday function so early is absurd. We as a country have really lost sight in what is important in life and need to take step back and look at the big picture.

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  3. lmansl1

    This point reinforces one of my favorite aspects of PR; the ability to create a message in which you can persuade the public to change their attitudes and perceptions. But, I certainly do not believe stores should be open on Thanksgiving. Your point proves though how powerful communication is in changing the way that people think. Why is everyone so easily persuaded?! I guess it makes our job as PR people easier though so perhaps I shouldn’t complain.

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  4. Jordan Richmond

    Unless someone is thankful for sales, they should probably be waiting until Friday before they start buying their gifts. I’m glad that everyone is able to turn a profit, but I think we need to be more careful about the way we go about this. Having crazy mobs may be entertaining for some, but it’s dangerous and unhealthy for us to limit a day off with the added stress of heightened consumerism.

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  5. Alexandra Ciongoli

    I couldn’t agree more with how ridiculous it is that the holidays are being celebrated earlier and earlier every year. Nowadays, as soon as Halloween is over with, stores and businesses across America make room for Christmas songs and decorations. It makes me feel as though Americans aren’t content with simply enjoying the moment they are in any more. Instead, we are constantly looking for the next big thing, and don’t want to linger on quality time with others because we are too busy searching for the biggest sales. I think we should keep in mind that family and friends are what are most important during the holidays, and we should stop changing great traditions just to hunt for good deals in shopping malls and department stores.

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  6. Lauren Platt

    Each year I become more and more agitated at how greedy our country becomes when it comes to Black Friday. As a very family oriented person, I am appalled that so many people leave their families so early or don’t even spend time with them at all on Thanksgiving just to be the first in line at Wal Mart. I think the lyrics speak mountains about this and the lack of appreciation people are becoming to have.

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  7. Sharlys Leszczuk

    I am highly against stores offering their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the only American holiday focused around families and traditions that has no religious meaning. Everyone in America should have the opportunity to share this holiday with their families. The people who abandon their dinners to go shopping are making a conscious decision; however, the people who work at these stores are usually forced to work this holiday.
    This year, I went to the mall with friends the night of Thanksgiving because our dinner ended early. I did not purchase anything, but I did ask some of the sales associates if they were forced to work that night. A young sales associate at American Eagle said, “Yeah, but at least its time and a half.”
    These companies are making so much money on this holiday that they are able to super-staff their stores to make sure people can be helped in a timely manner, and pay all of these people overtime as well.
    If stores want to extend their Black Friday sales, they should extend it to Saturday. There is no reason marketers should be able to take away a family holiday from their employees and force them to deal with frantic, rude, and stressed-out customers instead.

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  8. jeremydbeck

    There is nothing that can be said about Black Friday that hasn’t already been made clear. It is consumerism at its worst, ruins family values, brings out the worst in people and worst of all is a fabrication which people subscribe to because the media and companies have created this event. There don’t seem to be any redeeming attributes of Black Friday but I have a feeling it won’t be going away any time soon.

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  9. Richard Rocha

    American consumerism also makes me think of Harrison’s “I, Me, Mine” from when he was with The Beatles. As the title implies, sometimes all anyone can hear is people talking about, referring to, or caring about themselves. They leave their loved ones to shop, and while they might say they leave early so they can shop for their loved ones, I would wager that some extra time at the Thanksgiving table would make the family happier than a discounted radio or iPhone case.

    P.C. Richard & Son did not open until Black Friday, promoting themselves as a brand that cares about family. I loved this concept, and while I do not do any shopping on Black Friday (I utilize cyber-monday), I would try my best to shop at P.C. Richard & Son before any place else.

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  10. Chelsey Fuller

    Personally I have never wanted to go out for Black Friday shopping. Mainly I didn’t want to get up early and secondly I didn’t want to get trampled by crazy shoppers. But now things have completely changed. I was disgusted at the idea of stores opening at 8pm on Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving is a time to be with family and enjoy each others company and really just relax not to run to the mall and shove people to get presents at discounted prices. I don’t think people understand that Black Friday is not the only day to get things on sale. But we as a society have built it up to be the superbowl of all shopping days and you can’t miss it. So then we have all the shopping craziness and even people dying in Walmart. It really is sickening that society has become this extreme.

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  11. Jeremy Epstein

    I think the concept of Black Friday is great but the implementation is deplorable. You have 5 people trying to control a large crowd of eager and in some cases crazy shoppers who would run over their mother for a discount T.V. I live in the neighborhood where a couple years back someone actually was trampled to death at the local Walmart so Black Friday gets a little crazy around my neighborhood and I am not a big fan of it.

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  12. $#!+ it's R

    When I was younger, I remember Black Friday as a day my mother dragged me to the mall at 8 AM and made me pick out a winter coat. At the time I did not realize the true meaning of this “holiday” and how dedicated people were to the sales. Now, I view Black Friday in two ways. My first view is of how I know Black Friday to be. Waking up semi-early to go shopping for clothes. My second view is the Black Friday were hear of in the news and on commercials today. Opening stores at 8PM on Thanksgiving is a perfect example of how our obsession with Black Friday has taken top priority in what we think is right. I understand that Black Friday has been very beneficial for the businesses who offer deals however, people die every year waiting hours in line to get a hold of the merchandise. When events like Black Friday take place, we not only see the greed of the business companies taking place but we see the greed in each other when people fight over pointless items. Black Friday should continue on but serious changes should be made like providing well equipped security outside malls and having the stores open at a respectable hour.

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  13. Olga Varnavskaya

    I would like to share this PSA, which briefly describes what we typically see in Russia on TV news every year on Black Fridays days, and I am pretty much sure that the same video of fights go viral all over the world on that day of the year. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMTu4ixp9kw

    Having seen this I was always asking myself: ”Really? Is that how Americans want to be seen and portrayed?” Of course not! Unfortunately, the issue is much deeper and serious than the image of Americans on Black Friday sales. It’s become the global problem, which the whole world is going to face very soon.

    George Harrison was right, we should beware of those who take us where we shouldn’t go. It’s true, that neither Thanksgiving, nor St. Valentine ’s Day were never days to buy gifts. All this consumption mania was once artificially created. I wonder if in 1950 Victor Lebow ever thought that his idea of creating the society of consumerism in just 60 years will result in a tremendous ecological problem, threatening our future?
    “Governments around the world are trying hard to stimulate consumption to propel economic growth. For China, it is also the means to move away from an excessively export-dependent economy and help rebalance the world economy. All these may make economic sense. But it does not make environmental sense at all. As one of the largest greenhouse gas producers in the world, China is under great pressure to curb its carbon emissions. Stimulating consumption runs counter to this.” http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/2010-11/30/content_11630614.htm

    Several years ago I came across with the project Story of Stuff ( http://storyofstuff.org). They are doing great comprehensive, uncluttered videos about the threats of consumption mania, such as this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GorqroigqM.

    Unfortunately, what they say is 100% true: “National happiness is declining. We have more stuff, but less time for the things that really make us happy: friends, family, leisure time. We have less leisure time than ever. Some analysts say that we have less leisure time now than in Feudal society. And what we do with the scant leisure time we have? Watch TV and shop! ”

    Soon Christmas is coming. I can’t but share David Biello’s reflections on this:
    “What do you want for Christmas? A new computer? Maybe a cute stuffed animal? Well, before you slap down your credit card, you might want to spare a little thought for some of the extra costs they bear.” http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=a-holiday-for-consumption-10-12-19

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  14. Danie Zolezzi

    This doesn’t even surprise me anymore. Because only in America do you find people killing each other over a $6 discounted flat screen TV exactly 24 hours after being thankful for everything they already have. Black Friday gets worse and worse every year. I will never understand why people participate in such chaos. I understand that Christmas shopping can get expensive quickly so finding good deals is important, but at 2 AM? That’s absurd to me. As I left my house Thursday night to go see my friend at her house, my mom warned me, “You better not go shopping tonight! Don’t buy into that stuff. Those workers deserve Thanksgiving off too!” Needless to say, I have a brilliant mother.

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  15. Nicole Lombardo

    I find myself indifferent to other peoples choices on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. I don’t believe that consumers are just following a line of bread crumbs that the retailers are putting out, they are choosing to do so and with that choosing to miss out on what Thanksgiving really is. I feel people just go through with Black Friday because for them it is another tradition, in reality there is no need to go out at midnight since you can order all you want with the same sales online…. which is what I happily did from my home. There aren’t any special deals that you can’t find at another time they are regular sales and for that I feel bad for all the employees of retail who had to work on their Thanksgiving.

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  16. jryan32

    This year I was asked to work my first black friday in retail–I work at a watch shop in a mall near my hometown. This year, as you mentioned, the mall opened at 8pm on Thanksgiving night…and I was given the daunting task of taking on the graveyard shift: 12am-10am. Needless to say, it was miserable. But despite the hoards of greedy shoppers hoping to haggle me down to the lowest discount on the Movado watch they wanted, my real misery stemmed from the fact that I spent much of my thanksgiving dinner staring at the clock, trying to figure out how early I could leave to be able to squeeze in a half an hour nap. It really took away from the holiday and family time. When I pulled into the mall at midnight, the amount of cars infesting the lot sickened me. I feel like (this year especially) black friday is causing much of the nation to skip over Thanksgiving. As soon as Halloween ends, the malls hang up their decorations and the count down for christmas shopping days begins. The reason I like thanksgiving so much is because there are no presents, no stress; just time to appreciate what you DO have, not what you want. I think it is especially important to keep that practice alive.

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  17. kerry stewart

    I think that when stores open so early on Black Friday it completely takes away the purpose and meaning of Thanksgiving. People are starting to spend all of Thursday preparing for black friday instead of appreciating Thanksgiving for its true meaning. I also think that the clients of all of these stores are completely blinded by the hype around black friday and they are actually not receiving deals worth storming stores at midnight for. As said before, I think it’s completely terrible that people spend a day trampling others for things they want after thanking for what they have the day before.

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  18. Emily Green

    I agree completely with what you are saying. Personally I was disgusted to see that stores were opening so early. My nearby Walmart is 24 hours. It never once closed for Thanksgiving day and they began their sales at 6pm on Thursday night. This is absurd. People should not be out shopping on Thanksgiving; they should be with family and friends to appreciate and show what we are thankful for, not fighting strangers at a store for a cheap product. And because of this, employees are forced to leave their families to be at work to cater to crazed shoppers. I work in the mall near Hofstra and anyone in the opening shift had to be in the store at 7:30 pm. Absurd. It is time that we take a step back from unnecessary craziness and focus on what is important in our lives.

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  19. Brittany Witter

    I agree with this post! Black Friday has become a thing that has taken over our culture in terms of Thanksgiving. When Thanksgiving is approaching you see more ads for Black Friday and Christmas than you for the actual upcoming holiday. People use Thanksgiving as a reminder that marks how close they now are to Christmas.
    I truly think it is sad how little our country now respects family time and remembering the true point of the Thanksgiving holiday. I heard a quote over the break that really stuck with me and goes great with this particular blog post. “Black Friday: Because only in America, people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.” Sad, but true.

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  20. Kelly Cormier

    I find it very ironic that the madness of black friday now begins at 8 pm on Thanksgiving when we are all supposed to be giving thanks for friends and family as opposed to material things. It seems each year it has become earlier and earlier and people become more aggressive. Thanksgiving should not be a day to get the best deals but instead should stay as the feel-good holiday it is meant to be.

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  21. stacy05

    I never celebrated thanksgiving until last year. I taught the concept of this celebration was great. We had families and friends over; to me anything that involves family gathering is important. I was hoping we could have done the same again last week. But right after dinner a lot of people started leave early to go shopping. It saddened me that people are forgiving what is important in life. Shopping for material stuff will never equal the time we spent together as a family.

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  22. Nick Stiles

    I don’t believe all the blame should be put on the retailers. They may open their doors and have huge sales but everyone has a choice whether or not to actually go. Nobody is forcing anyone to participate in these ridiculous sales, those that do participate choose to wait on line rather than spend time with their family but that is their choice. I never have gone shopping on Black Friday so it does not affect me and it doesn’t bother me if people choose to go shopping. I can still enjoy the holidays in the way I want to.

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  23. rachelcarru2

    I am personally not affected by Black Friday. I believe that the way I was brought up has a lot to do with this. Society can only effect us so much. I do agree with George Harrison’s lyrics though. Some individuals have lost the meaning of Thanksgiving. Even Christmas has become just a simple Hallmark holiday. These holidays involve spending money, eating a lot, drinking more, and watching sports. Not so nice anymore huh? We can only hold onto what we have left. My family continues to celebrate the holidays in a genuine way and although I am guilty of some indiscretions, I hope that I too will learn to be more honest and more generous in this new holiday season.

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  24. jessicaxxrebello

    Last year was the first year I participated in Black Friday shopping. That was my first and I can say with confidence that it will be my last time going. If I remember correctly, my friends and I woke up at 5am that morning and headed to the mall. By that time the mall was already packed and it took a while for us to even find a parking space. I was shocked by the amount of people that had already been at the mall and were leaving as we were just walking in. The stores were a huge mess and the lines were ridiculous. Luckily where I shopped, I did not witness any fights but I’m sure they were happening elsewhere. This year, when I looked at social media and saw people posting negative things about Black Friday such as status’ along the lines of saying, after the day families come together to celebrate what they are thankful for, they spend the next day trampling others after being thankful for what they have already. Since I went last year and got it out of my system for good, I couldn’t help but laugh at these statuses and agree with them. I also saw the stories about the fights that broke out in various Walmart stores and was shocked. These types of stories are released every year and it makes me wonder why and how people are able to do such things over discounted items.
    Realistically, Black Friday will never be banished from happening, but because people continuously shop on Black Friday from year to year and these crazy stories are released, it makes me wonder if there will ever be a solution to stopping these awful stories that just seem unreal from occurring.

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  25. Jaime Silano

    Personally, I am unaffected by the antics of black Friday shopping. I think my indifference to the clearly excellent sales, anticipation of (seemingly) everyone in the country, and endless media “hype” of the day can be attributed to a few things. Aside from my status as a poor college student and the simple lack of money to spend on this superficial day, my attitude toward the holiday in general keeps me away from the fist fights in Wal Mart. I find it upsetting and shameful that people are willing to leave their families and cut the day of thanks short, for what? a $30 Tablet? I personally would rather pay full price than have to leave my family to get in line in the cold, or knock someone out to get my hands on the product I want. By doing this, people are supporting the commercialization of holidays and the exploitation of what is supposed to be a warm family-oriented time, to a time of chaos and disregard for what we already have to be thankful for.

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  26. Laura Schioppi

    I totally agree with your article. It is terrible that people would sacrifice their time to be with family in order to get a discount over a toy or clothing. They should be ashamed of themselves to give up a special holiday. It is disgusting to watch the news and see people fighting over a television. Materialistic items are clouding our judgement everyday. It is important to open our eyes and see the people who love us no matter what, not the brand new video game out that entertains us for an hour. We should value the time we have with each other!

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  27. adrianazappolo

    I think that people become so obsessed with saving money on Black Friday that they forget to relax and enjoy the holiday. Between the media’s coverage of Black Friday, and the insane amount of ads that are taking over our radios and TVs, it’s difficult not to get wrapped up in the idea of hunting for bargains. All of this attention takes away from the meaning of Thanksgiving. The entire purpose of the holiday is to give thanks and spend time with people you love. It’s sad that so many people cut their Thanksgiving dinners short to wait on long lines to buy items on sale. Yes, you save money, but you lose precious time and memories with your family.

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  28. akrame27

    It is mind blowing that people place such emphasis on Black Friday which is a “commercial holiday” and takes away from spending time with family and loved ones on Thanksgiving. I personally belief that Black Friday is absolutely absurd and has become so out of control that now stores are opening on 8pm Thanksgiving night. It has gotten to the point where individuals run out to stores not so much for the insane deals but just for the thrill of it. I love Thanksgiving it is my favorite time of year to gather around the dinner table with my family as we all remind ourselves of how thankful we are. I would never compromise that time with my family to go into crowded stores and wait in long lines with strangers.

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  29. marilynoliver

    I really enjoyed this post, the juxtaposition of Thanksgiving and the biggest shopping day of the year is something really worth considering. I’m always looking for a good deal and it is strikingly apparent that families across America don’t have enough money to spend for the holidays as they did just ten years ago. I also believe that moderation tends to be a good rule of thumb for anything. So yes, PR should direct people to the nearest and biggest sales but only to the extent that it doesn’t press into ethical boundaries. This past Black Friday was a good reminder of how bad it can get if we allow the “urgent messages” we see plastered across the media to run our lives. Good PR begins with good intentions that pull from integrity and wisdom. Every PR campaign should follow through with that in mind in order that the effects of the campaign are not as horrific as we’ve seen.

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  30. Ariana Goldklang

    I believe that it is wrong that so many people cut short their thanksgivings with their family just so they can go black friday shopping. People forget the meaning of thanksgiving by shoving in front of each other and getting in fights just to buy items. People also don’t appreciate the workers who also cut their thanksgivings short in order to work and help customers, who usually aren’t very nice to them. The George Harrison lyrics are completely accurate for this time of year, people shouldn’t be greedy and they should remember to actually appreciate the holiday and everything they have.

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  31. ij28

    It is sad to think that as soon as we eat and give thanks, we all rush to spend money. This was the first year that I really participated in Black Friday and it was fun to do it with my mom because we got to spend time together. I don’t necessarily think Black Friday is horrible and as sad as it is, I don’t even think starting on Thanksgiving necessarily takes away the importance of giving thanks. I do think it’s an embarrassment when people go insane and take the shopping too seriously!

    There was one year where I worked Black Friday and it was very scary. It was the worst day. You would fold clothes, turn around for a second and when you turned back, the clothes were back on the floor. In this case, I do feel like going shopping crazy takes away the Thanksgiving feeling. I go to the movies every year with my family after Thanksgiving, so I don’t think I would participate in the Thanksgiving day deals. I don’t think it’s anyones fault but our own, when it comes to Black Friday. If people are forgetting what their thankful for when they got out shopping on Thanksgiving it’s just who they are, it’s not the store’s fault.

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  32. csawye2

    I completely agree that shopping that takes place on Black Friday is disturbing. Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and be with family and friends. Instead retailers have turned the holiday into a shopping extravaganza. As I watched the news with my family I was sadly not shocked to see the injuries that occurred during the chaos of Black Friday. Every year people are injured during “holiday shopping” which is ironic. The holiday season is supposed to be the “happiest time of the year” but with violent shoppers this is not the case. Instead people should stay home with their loved ones and enjoy quality time.

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  33. Brie S

    Sometimes lyrics are very honest and appropriate for various situations and this is an example just like The Black Eyed Peas’ “Where Is The Love”. It has a lot of truth to it and can be applied to global problems that are going on today.

    I find it incredibly ironic that Thanksgiving, the day to be thankful for what you already have and a time for family, precedes Black Friday, the most materialistic day of the year. It has become a holiday along with Cyber Monday. My grandma told me last year that when my mom was younger families would do their holiday shopping about 2 weeks before Christmas. Now people excuse themselves from the dinner table on Thanksgiving to go wait in line at a store by 8pm. It is absurd. I agree that we are falling into this dark behavior. Americans deserve to be home with their families and not working. It is a time for thanks not to be a greedy leader.

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  34. Alexandra Cohen

    George Harrison’s lyrics seem fitting for this time of year. Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for everything you have, while Black Friday is taking away from the meaning by making people want more and more. I think it’s ridiculous that stores open as early as 8 p.m. because it’s taking away from time spent with friends and family. I even heard that some stores open as early as 6 p.m.,which I find not acceptable at all. Shopping can wait because friends and family should come first. With all the obsession over Black Friday and holiday shopping, it’s like the true meaning of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even Hanukkah are forgotten because all that people care about these days are getting presents. This is the time of year where businesses make their biggest sales, so they end the yer with a bang by promoting advertisements on the television and radio to tell viewers about the latest products and the lowest prices. The funny thing is that some stores raise prices, not lower them to make more money and people don’t seem to care because if they want the product they will buy it. I hope people will realize one day that the holidays are not about presents, but about the time spent with friends, family, and holiday traditions.

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  35. Laurel Smith

    I feel that, in many American households, Thanksgiving dinner is now cut short so that families can go out into the madness that is Black Friday. Personally, I feel that Black Friday so very much the opposite of the values that are instilled in us during the holiday season. We take time to be grateful, yet immediately do a 180 by going out to fight people for the largest big screen tv available.
    But it’s not just Thanksgiving and Black Friday I’m worried about. It’s the Christmas mania and Halloween chaos. All of these so called holidays have become retailers’ dream seasons.
    To be realistic, I do not see this changing in the near future. In fact, I only see it getting worst. Luckily enough, the personal fix is easy. To each his own, but I have never participated in the midnight Black Friday scramble nor any crazy expensive Halloween costumes. The holiday season is about fun and loved ones. By keeping it real, we can essentially keep it real.

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  36. Reina Morison

    it’s actually kind of sad what thanksgiving has turned into. People try to eat earlier so that they make sure they can get out to shop, and it takes away from the holiday. Black friday should be friday, but now its taking over thanksgiving as well. I can understand why the stores are doing it, but at the same time don’t they want their employees to enjoy their holiday as well? and by that i mean the whole thing, not just until 6pm that night. I’ve also worked on Black friday and it really is sad the way that people behave to. I get that retailers need to make their money, but they are doing it at the cost of ruining a great tradition. What a reflection on how much things have changed.

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  37. acasole

    I agree with many of the points that have been brought up in this blog posting about the holiday season. After Black Friday, I followed many news stories about holiday shopping “mall brawls” with my family. It genuinely disgusted me that there were actually deaths and injuries over saving a few dollars on unnecessary and materialistic items. This negativity completely destroys the spirit of the holiday season. I took a drive on Thanksgiving to run some last minute errands before my family arrived for dinner and was genuinely shocked to see that there were already lines forming outside of the stores in my neighborhood at 4pm on Thanksgiving. These sales and crazy shoppers are completely destroying the holiday and moving the sales to start at an earlier time each year keeps on influencing this negativity. Thanksgiving is about spending time with family and being thankful for your loved ones, not standing in line for hours upon hours to fight with people over saving a few dollars on last seasons flat screen television.

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  38. Zoe Hoffmann

    I think it is shameful that Black Friday deals have begun to sneak onto the one day a year we are supposed to emphasize gratitude for all we have. This Thanksgiving I stayed on campus and was running a quick grocery errand with a friend when we drove by a Walmart and Best Buy on 5pm on Thanksgiving Day. The line wrapped around the building with police escorts to prevent fights. Not only does it sadden me that people have placed more value on a shopping deal than on family time, it saddens me that retailers now expect people to work. The employees of those places, the police that monitor those lines. They deserve to go home and be with their families. I think it will take something drastic for Americans to change their materialistic ways and re-focus Thanksgiving for what it is ended to be about. No one should go shopping or be expected to work anytime during the day of Thanksgiving. Eventually, the whole holiday will be meaningless and sales get earlier and earlier. I, for one, refuse to participate in Thanksgiving Day shopping.

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  39. tacost2

    I do believe that Black Friday has always been a scam. However, I feel as though a decent amount of individuals who celebrate Thanksgiving feel the need to “have something to do” around this particular holiday since Christmas is accompanied by Christmas Eve right before, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day almost immediately after. It has been noted that the day before Thanksgiving is known as the biggest partying/drinking day of the year, so why not have a day after that entails pandemonium? The whole idea of Black Friday to me is dumb and reckless. You have almost an entire calendar month in between Thanksgiving and Christmas to gather all the presents and gifts you need. Why not just keep the sales running throughout the entire time?

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  40. cmadsenpr

    As much as I hate to say this…I actually enjoyed “black friday” starting on Thanksgiving this year. My family eats Thanksgiving lunch instead of Thanksgiving dinner, so by 8pm at night we’re usually just sitting on the couch at home, not doing anything special. It’s a tradition for my mom and I to go out early black friday morning and do our shopping. It was MUCH more pleasant to go out at 8pm and return home at midnight safe and sound in my bed, and able to sleep in the next morning.

    Do I think this phenomenon is a bit crazy? Yes. I never really thought about how the retail gods seem to actually control us. They said black friday is going to start on Thursday and it did. And there is nothing we can do to change it. I’ve been going out on Black Friday with my mom for years and I’ve never seen anything like these crazy people on the news. The reality is that stuff is not worth your life. I sincerely hope more people start realizing that.

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  41. Sarah ElSayed

    I believe that “Beware of those who take us where we should not go” relates to all types of peer pressure. We should always keep our guard up especially when the government or media is involved. Black Friday is an American made “holiday” tearing us away from the meanings of religious holidays by turning us into crazed lunatics who only care about what we’re getting our family for commercialized holidays, and tears us away from the family time of Thanksgiving.

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  42. Nathalie Salazar

    I recently read on my marketing professor’s blog that the best “sales” days are typically December 10 to December 24, not Black Friday or Cyber Monday because retailers want to sell merchandise before the holiday to avoid even bigger markups thereafter. If this is true, then why is Black Friday such a big deal? I would have to agree that its just a retailers scam to get people to spend more money and more money. And the fact that retailers are now encroaching on the actual Thanksgiving day is just upsetting. George Harrison’s lyrics could not fit this situation more perfectly.

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  43. croyal13

    Black Friday has never interested me, but for some members of my family, it is tradition. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate family andnall that we have
    However, it is also a time to prepare for the upcoming holidays. I do think Black friday is good for the economy, but it has definitely gotten out of hand with the violent and behavior ot can bring out. People are so focused on saving money on an amazing deal they do not take the safety and courtesy of others into consideration. I do not think it matters how early this day is, but I do think that the behavior of shoppers needs to be better controlled.

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  44. Cody Dano

    I agree that Black Friday is taking over Thanksgiving. I know in my family we still celebrate thanksgiving, but for some of my friends they just go shopping as a family. They don’t do the big dinner or anything like that. Their lives are consumed by hours of shopping. I usually work on Black Friday so I know first hand how crazy people can be. It really is frightening sometimes.

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  45. Play Ball!

    Recently, I read something about Black Friday that’s message got me thinking. We stampede over others in order for things we don’t really need, on the day after we are supposed to be most thankful for the things we already have. Ironic, isn’t it?
    I have never been a Black Friday shopper. Waking up extremely early (or never going to bed) in order to wait outside in the cold with a bunch of crazed shoppers all competing for a select amount of items in a crowded store? Not exactly the way I like to spend my holidays- or any other day for that matter.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a true bargain hunter- but I’m not interested in the “tradition” that is Black Friday.
    I use tradition lightly, because as you have already mentioned, over time Black Friday has turned into a whole weekend worth of savings. Black Friday begins late night on Thanksgiving Day, and I am still seeing advertisements for the “Black Friday Weekend Celebration” some companies are promoting. Black Friday savings all weekend, just in time for Cyber Monday- yet another day to convince people to buy things they probably don’t need, just for the sake of saving a few dollars.

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  46. Lyndi Catania

    I agree with the lyrics and the fact that Black Friday is ruining Thanksgiving. I personally do not take part in Black Friday shopping, but I usually didn’t mind seeing others go. Now it has come to the point where people are starting to waste their whole Thanksgiving Day waiting on long lines in the cold. Some interviewed people on television even admitted to eating fast food instead so that they could get to the stores quicker. That is an issue.

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  47. Adria Marlowe

    There was an interesting article on the New Yorker’s website a couple of days ago that gives some insight into the beginning of what we now call Black Friday and debunks some popular beliefs – e.g. Black Friday doesn’t necessarily offer the best deals and the number of consumers who visit stores on Black Friday has actually been decreasing over the past four years. http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/currency/2013/11/everything-you-know-about-black-friday-is-wrong.html

    While I chose to spend Thanksgiving weekend with friends and family, it was hard to completely ignore the barrage of emails and junk mail advertisements I received over the past few weeks, and I did end up spending a little time shopping online. But, perhaps, retail “leaders” aren’t solely to blame for all this Black Friday hype. If individuals placed a greater emphasis on the true meaning of the holidays and less on getting the best deals and most “stuff,” then there might not be as great of a demand for stores to open on Thanksgiving or incidents where people are trampling each other for a good deal on a TV, doll, game, etc.

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  48. Dianne Baumert-Moyik

    Jeff, I very much enjoyed your perspectives today and I couldn’t agree more. George was always a visionary–who carried a different, more grounded perspective than most successful artists. Regardless of what the media and retailers feed us (the general public and the consumer), it goes back to personal behavior and having a sense of integrity that family is first before material things. Adults need to be adults and show a good example to children. What are we teaching our children when we are camping out in front of stores for days just to buy a toy or electronic gadget? It is misplaced “love” that fosters a strong sense of greed and entitlement by the generations. Fewer “things” is truly more. While I can appreciate the big retailers trying to make a majority of their numbers in the next 30 days, there should be a way to entice consumers all year round without the madness that comes from storming the doors and people dying from being trampled. As Joe Flanagan suggests, support to small business is critical as they employ 80 percent of American’s (with less than 25 employees). Leaving holiday time to family and friends — not the cash register.

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  49. Jennifer Cline Sargent

    Maybe that should be the song we listen to on Thanksgiving from now on instead of “Alice’s Restaurant.” A very good friend of mine is forced to work as a seasonal employee at Target this year since her husband was hurt on the job and lost his income. As a result, she had to leave her kids, recuperating husband and extended family to work until 1:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving – all to satisfy the shopping rush starting Thursday night instead of Friday. She’s not complaining, she’s grateful to have found the job. But maybe some of the Thanksgiving shoppers should look at the bargain-hunting from a different perspective before deciding it’s OK to head out before the turkey is digested.

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  50. Leia Schultz

    The Eyewitness News video about battles breaking out between Black Friday shoppers is an embarrassing display of people acting utterly unreasonably just to find a bargain deal on items, but sadly that scene is one that Americans have come to anticipate every year. It’s mind blowing that people continually put themselves in those situations! Shouldn’t we know how to behave civilly towards our neighbors? The only answer I can think of is, as you noted, the rampant greed in our society. The Black Friday chaos is truly a disgusting example of peoples’ greed for material goods directing their intentions. The United States does foster a materialistic culture. How much more Black Friday pandemonium are peopling willing to put up with before we change our society?

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  51. Yeliz A

    I could not agree more with George Harrison and with your blog post. My sister the other day mentioned how the early deals take away from the tradition of family-gathering on Thanksgiving, however she couldn’t resist herself and still left Friday evening and shopped at Walmart, Target, and Macy’s. The fact that even after a death (back in 2008) at Walmart when one employee was trampled couldn’t stop this Black Friday madness is what surprises me the most. Humanity is gone on Black Friday. I know firsthand what it’s like because I’ve worked Black Friday two years in a row at my store in the mall and people just lose all sensibility and respect for not only the merchandise but for each other as well. It’s all about who’s got the best deal and which retailer is making the most money. They don’t care about the warmth, appreciation, and tradition of Thanksgiving, they care about hitting their goals. What sickens me the most is that they continue to advertise their sales with these cheery and optimistic “doorbuster” commercials, when in reality the actual scene looks nothing like those ads. If Thanksgiving is about getting physically hurt and hurting others just to get $20 off on a TV then count me out!

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  52. Rachel Tyler

    Having sales start as early as 8 p.m on Thanksgiving takes away the true meaning of the holiday. Thanksgiving is a time for family and retailers are taking that time away. Shoppers shop by choice but I doubt that the employees want to leave their families on Thanksgiving to go to work. I do believe that society has shaped the idea of Black Friday and fueled it to grow into a bigger holiday then Thanksgiving. In many ways Thanksgiving has been forgotten about. Many prepare for Black Friday instead of focusing on Thanksgiving. It is even looked over by Christmas. Christmas commercials and songs on the radio begin earlier and earlier each year. Everyone is so excited about Christmas coming that Thanksgiving is not that big of deal anymore.

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  53. Joe Flanagan

    I find the George Harrison lyrics surprisingly appropriate for this situation. We have lost the true meaning of American holidays including Christmas. Thanksgiving was the holiday that everyone loved because it was the “gift free” holiday. It was the holiday of football, food, and family, the three “F’s”. Now, Thanksgiving is the ammunition holiday where families prepare themselves for the Black Friday holiday.
    The only thing that has been positive as a result of all this ad chaos is a new day called “small business saturday” a new campaign the day after Black Friday promoting small businesses. If all of this chaos was to promote small businesses, it would be very different in the eyes of Americans. Because all of this chaos is for big businesses who are only looking to max its profits, Americans (including myself) should be bitter and yearn for the good old days; a Thanksgiving free of Christmas music and Christmas sales.

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