The Arka Tech

Black Friday: The dark side of holiday tradition

Anyone who has browsed the television networks during the holiday season has most likely skimmed across a few scenes from family shows featuring the holiday spirit. Whether the mentioned show is “CSI: Miami” or “The Andy Griffith Show,” each individual series represents the tradition and family-styled togetherness of the holiday season.

Unfortunately, the images that popular television and advertisements try to present are bits and pieces of old and nearly extinct traditions.

When examined from a position outside the pop culture box, the realities of the holiday season come together to form a very different picture. The result is a dark amalgamation of family and friend-based traditions turned commercial.

Once upon a time, the Thanksgiving holiday was looked upon as a time to bring family and friends close, to reflect upon the bounties of the past year and to enjoy platefuls of good, home-cooked food. And even after the festivities of thankfulness were over, families could enjoy a time of preparation and decoration for the Christmas holiday.

But that all changed in 1969, when a financial crisis caused a sudden spike in the general cost of store-bought products. Shoppers seeking to start their early preparations for the Christmas season were annoyed by the high prices following Thanksgiving Day, lovingly dubbing the day as Black Friday.

Advertisers and retail stores quickly jumped onto the phrase, turning it into a day full of low-price shopping deals. Egged on by advertisements promising low rates and worsened by threats of limited time offers, the time between holidays has somehow morphed from a relaxed, retrospective occasion into a tense, binge-spending festival.

And as if the Black Friday origin in itself is not already intrusive enough, the day after Thanksgiving is continuing to push the true meaning of the holiday season further outside the limelight.

A recent example was provided on Monday, when many large chain stores such as Target and Kohl’s announced an early door opening for Black Friday shoppers, some as early as 6 a.m. on Nov. 28.

With all the hubbub surrounding this year’s Black Friday sales, many shopping centers are preparing for the onslaught of rushed shoppers.

The hurried crowds have proved dangerous in the past, even to the point of severely injuring or killing each other and store employees.

That being said, if the Western culture has sunk to such a low level that individuals throw humane traditions other general respects into the dirt in order to take bites out of juicy deals advertised by money-hungry corporations, modern society is in for a rude awakening.