This holiday season, families will gather, start a warm fire, watch old Christmas movies, and hang their stockings, but more than any of that, they will shop until they drop. As the years go by more and more people have bought into this holiday of consumerism called Black Friday. According to CNN, this degenerate shopping holiday first got its name in 1961 when a group of Philadelphia police officers used it to describe the horribly congested streets during pre-Christmas shopping. Ever since then, this tradition of greed has plagued Americans with an unquenchable thirst for bargains.
Americans have taken this thirst to a whole new level. According to the U.S. Economy website, the average American spends $423 on Black Friday weekend, a total of more than $59 billion a year! This shopping epidemic now spans from Thanksgiving Thursday all the way to Sunday, to optimize profits and crush the spirit of thankfulness. The roughly $60 billion that Americans spend on bargains each year (in only four days) is enough money to feed an entire third world country for a year according to the Hunger Math website. This huge amount of money that we waste on extravagant gifts each year is also enough to pay for over 2,000 graduate educations at the university level. We are spending all this money, and have nothing to show for it.
Of course, it isn’t enough to spend copious amounts of money on Black Friday weekend, we also have to be the first one to get the deals. A culture of vicious and brutal competition has spawned among Black Friday shoppers. A competition so fiercely terrible that it has claimed lives in the name of a good bargain. Yes… lives.
Since 2006, seven Americans have actually lost their lives while shopping on Black Friday. In 2012, a father lost his two daughters in a car crash during heavy Black Friday traffic. In 2011, Black Friday bargain hunters trampled Walter Vance as he collapsed and died at the scene. In 2013, a teen fell asleep at the wheel after Black Friday shopping and died in a motor vehicle crash. The list continues. In addition to these deaths, Black Friday lovers have sustained 98 major injuries according to blackfridaydeathcount.com. This isn’t warfare, this isn’t police work, hell this isn’t even mall police work! These people aren’t putting their lives on the line for the community, they are shopping. How has something so trivial as shopping been turned into such a brutal blood sport?
Many think that this incessant deal chasing and bargain hunting is harmless and a great way to save money. Yet, when do we start to draw the line of reason and say “You know what, I don’t need that,” or “I’m not going to trample this elderly man to get 50% off a flat screen TV”? Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Almost like common sense. I mean, who in their right mind would do such a thing? Yet, we as Americans get so caught up in a sense of excitement for material objects that we forget why we have the holidays in the first place. That is to be thankful, and to love one another.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).