Thanksgiving morning: Some will be waking up, others will be shopping.
Thanksgiving afternoon: Some will be cooking, others will be shopping.
Thanksgiving evening: Some will be feasting, others will be shopping.
Thanksgiving night/Friday morning: Everybody will be shopping.
This year, Black Friday sales have leaked over onto Thanksgiving Day, and not just at midnight. Big name retailers such as Walmart and Target are opening their doors a day early, much to the dismay of consumers. Why are they dismayed, you may ask? Not because it disgusts them that a day reserved for being thankful, grateful, and surrounded by family has been marred by American consumerism, but because it means those people that are away engaging in Thanksgiving-esque activities will not be able to partake in the shopping.
While I love a good sale as much as the next person, the idea of Black Friday in general is pretty ironic. Materialism, a contender for the direct opposite of family appreciation, comes to the forefront after a day of giving thanks. It is just a staple of the consumerism that drives our economy. Like we discussed in class, we are given the message that everything about us wrong until we go shopping. People continue on the cycle of perceived and planned obsolescence when they can buy new electronic products for 50% off.
However, even more ironically, this year we should be thankful for the hopeful retail sales projections for Black Friday. The materialism that drove Americans to spend and spend came to a halt during the 2008 recession, jeopardizing the economy even further. The National Retail Federation has predicted a 4.1 percent growth in sales on Friday, perhaps providing a more concrete promise of the recovering economy and housing market.
We have learned in class and by reading Freefall how the falling values of homes create a negative relationship between Americans and their desire to spend money on excess materials. A home is a family’s greatest asset: if the value of that asset decreases and the mortgage payments amount to much more than that value, the family will have difficulty meeting the payments. They will be less likely to spend money on materials other than the home.
According to this article from The Daily Beast, house prices have indeed been on the rise, leading to the promising projection for Black Friday sales. These may be the only years when it is not completely materialistic of us to celebrate and be thankful for Americans’ love for consuming and purchasing.