Black Friday: A Corporate Illusion


Courtesy of Creative Commons.

I have a modest proposal. Stay home this Thursday and Friday.

It’s unethical for the workers that businesses force to work long hours on Thanksgiving Day and through the weekend— and you’re not actually saving much money in the first place.

According to the Wall Street Journal, retail discounts are just as fake as they seem appealing. Businesses actually raise prices right before Black Friday so that those sales are steeper than they should be.

While Black Friday presents itself as the best opportunity to buy electronics at outrageously low prices, many brands manufacture lower-quality products just for that day (Forbes). These “derivative models” are created for just a few weeks and thus are more likely to be flawed. In other words, you get what you pay for.

If you must, shop online. Stores start Black Friday sales early and last into Cyber Week. It’s a much better alternative to lining up before opening hour and getting lost in the consumer frenzy that can turn violent.

It’s easy enough for some corporate Dave Singleman to concoct this illusion of a big savings day as a prime chance for everyone to do their Christmas shopping. But what most of us don’t see are the minimum-wage retail workers who are held to sky-high sales standards and made to work late hours instead of relaxing this Thanksgiving. By showing up at a store on Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday, your actions say that your dollars are worth more than those employees’ deserved rest and joy with their families.

As a nation who prides itself on humanitarianism and equality, we are surprisingly blind to the toxicity of Black Friday and the sales that surround that day. Capitalism gives us what we demand. And we should not be perpetuating this fake season of giving that’s solely for the privileged. Don’t take part.