Falling Prey to Consumerism

By: Grace Hancock

I did what I didn’t want to do. I went black Friday shopping at midnight after thanksgiving. I made sure I was in comfortable clothes, and I definitely wasn’t hungry. I even brought a cross-body purse so I didn’t have to worry about my things. I agreed to go to Urban Outfitters, under the guise that my friend just had to buy pants, and we would be in and out quickly. Upon arrival, we discovered that lots of other people had planned on going to Urban Outfitters as evidenced by the massive line. We considered turning back, but we figured we’d risk it. Luckily for us, they let everyone in when it officially turned midnight, so we only had to wait in line for about 5 or 10 minutes. Once inside the store, I could not believe how much people were pushing and shoving. I tried to apologize as much as possible while walking past people. Unfortunately my hangers kept getting stuck on other customers’ jackets and bags. I got lucky and was able to cut most of the people in line for the fitting room by joining my friend who was already near the front. Once my friends and I tried our things on, and I decided I would buy two dresses that I really did not need, simply because they were only $10 a piece, we went to look for the back of the checkout line. It was in doing this that we realized how long the line was and that it wrapped around the entire store multiple times. We got to the back of the line, which was extremely close to the front of the line because of all the winding. We watched as the people in front of us stealthily cut right into the front of the line, and we decided to do the same. By simply moving over two feet, we saved probably an hour of waiting in line. Even though we were playing into consumerism, it felt like we mocked it a bit by escaping the line. The other customers were so self-absorbed that they did not even notice us cutting in front of them. Experiencing the madness first hand, made me think about Black Friday and its origins. After doing some research, I found out that Black Friday started after the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924. “The term ‘Black Friday’ was coined in the 1960s to mark the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season. ‘Black’ refers to stores moving from the ‘red’ to the ‘black,’ back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit.” (BlackFriday.com). Many people have sustained injuries during the shopping frenzy, and others have died from trampling, and even shootings. Even through the insanity, last year, “Total spending over the four-day weekend reached a record $59.1 billion, a 13% increase from $52.4 billion last year, according to the NRF.” (Fox 2012). This is the epitome of consumerism.

Sources:

Fox, Emily Jane. “Black Friday: Spending and Number of Shoppers Hit Record Highs.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 25 Nov. 2012. Web. 29 Nov. 2013. <http://money.cnn.com/2012/11/25/pf/black-friday-sales/&gt;.

“10 Violent Black Friday Injuries, Deaths.” US News. U.S.News & World Report, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2013. <http://www.usnews.com/photos/10-violent-black-friday-shopping-injuries-deaths&gt;.

“The History of Black Friday.” The History of Black Friday. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2013. <http://blackfriday.com/pages/black-friday-history&gt;.

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About rowlanda12

This is a blog about the 2012 presidential election. Content is generated by students in Professor Heldman's Politics 101 class. She does not necessarily endorse the views expressed here.
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