Take time to appreciate more than just shopping

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. Soon enough, we’ll all spend our mini-vacations catching up with family members, unwinding during our favorite football games and most importantly, eating as much as possible. It’s a college student’s dream. Thanksgiving is the time of year that we should all reflect on everything we have that we normally take for granted. Ironically, Thanksgiving shares its spotlight with another American celebration — Black Friday.

I experienced my first taste of Black Friday shopping two years ago. The Maine Mall was so hectic and crowded that I couldn’t even cram myself inside my favorite stores. I stayed at the mall for 30 minutes — spending half that time just trying to escape. Seeing the way people acted on Black Friday made me never want to return; it was bewildering and embarrassing. I would have much rather been nestled on the couch with my family eating leftover turkey sandwiches, pretending to care about a football game.

Just thinking about the hapless employees working during Black Friday should be enough reason to not participate in this madness. Thousands of people have to leave their families and Thanksgiving celebrations to work a shift at their job. Not just any shift, but a long, stressful night shift dealing with a mass of customers crazed on the idea of saving money. No one should have to worry about work on Thanksgiving. The holiday is the epitome of relaxation. However, every year, my two cousins leave my family’s Thanksgiving early so they can sleep and prepare for their forthcoming shifts. Arriving at midnight, they have to work through the night at a bustling shoe store.

What is wrong with our society? Is money the core of this issue? Are people so desperate for money that they succumb to Black Friday in hopes to save on Christmas gifts? Or has our society become so materialistic that commercials and advertisements have enough power to convince us to go shopping on this ruthless night? Even if people want to partake in this ridiculous American tradition, the date should be changed. I understand that many businesses depend on Black Friday for profit, but wouldn’t it make more sense to move the date to a non-holiday weekend? I’m sure that most people would be willing to have an annual day of sales any other time of year. This atrocious custom does not belong anywhere near holiday seasons. This is the time of year that we need to wipe the glaze from our eyes and understand what really matters.

This year, I urge you to stay in. Don’t let Black Friday take anything away from your Thanksgiving celebration. Spend time with your family, and even if you have to force yourself to, enjoy it. Make sure to relax this vacation, because soon after, we will all be heading back to school to prepare for the dreaded finals week. This Thanksgiving, we should all truly reflect on everything and everyone that we have in our lives. With recent tragedies occurring all over the world, it is important for everyone to grasp the important aspects of their lives, and discounted televisions aren’t part of it.

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