–Soenke Pietsch (‘21)
We all enjoy the deals, whether it is a new Nintendo Switch for a staggering $299 or a 42” TV for as low as $149, America is captivated by the Black Friday buzz. However, the mind-blowingly low prices, that some of us can snag from a retailer, have consequences that many of us do not see. With stores like Best Buy and Walmart opening their doors on Thursday evening, luring customers with so-called “doorbusters”, will we see a century-old Thanksgiving tradition be replaced to get the best deal? For now, the quick answer is no, with 70 percent of shoppers daring to bare Black Friday crowds and even less deciding to shop on Thursday, many traditions will undoubtedly stay around.
But in the future, the more complex answer may be yes. With the convenient access to millions of goods that websites like amazon.com represent, holiday traditions might take place in front of a computer screen instead of at the dinner table. Before Thanksgiving ended on Thursday, shoppers had already spent an incredible $1.52 billion U.S. dollars on online retailer websites, or an 18 percent increase from last year, proving that this option is becoming increasingly popular. The spike in online sales shouldn’t come as a surprise, as online retailers lower their prices before Black Friday by an average of 24 percent. With 24 million people choosing to shop rather than celebrating, brick and mortar shops saw an increase in shoppers on Thursday which shouldn’t come as a surprise, as stores have begun to open their doors earlier each year, slowly making their way into our sacred holiday traditions.
However, before we go hating on retailers, spamming their twitter feeds with hateful messages blaming them for the deterioration of our treasured traditions, consider your own decisions this Thanksgiving. After all, only about 24 million Americans gave up their traditions, making it the slowest day out of the entire weekend. In the end, it remains up to you, if you chose family over deals, enjoy the sacred time. On the other hand, if you value savings before family time, go ahead and enjoy the shopping. Just remember that there may not be any leftovers to enjoy after you are done shopping.