The most wonderful time of the year?

By Amanda Eakin

Truly it is an act of masochism when I decided to go shopping on Black Friday. At least experience has taught me to wait until the afternoon to get a jumpstart on my Christmas shopping.

I will never be a part of the red-eyed masses huddled in front of the gate to a store, especially just to snag a couple discounts one would not have landed otherwise. Between an extra 20% discount off an HD TV I will never purchase and my overall well-being (as in, I get to keep my two arms and legs), I’m going to opt for the latter option.

There have been stories circulating around these parts, ones that communicate exactly why I cringe at the notion of shopping at 3 in the morning. Horror stories.

At some unspeakable hour this Black Friday, there was apparently a riot at the Victoria’s Secret in Southpark Mall, the shopping center closest to my hometown (North Royalton is only known for its wide variety of pharmacy stores, so we look to nearby cities for entertainment). According to The Plain Dealer, people were literally knocking displays over and running off with merchandise.

I guess those people must have really yearned for a set of new underwear. Though I must ask, what compels one to justify running off with handfuls of panties? Does the sheer madness of Black Friday cause some chaotic glitch in the brain in which people forget about the miracle of evolution?

This is only one of many episodes that demonstrates what lengths people will sink to just for a bargain.

According to a friend of mine who was shopping at the Wal-Mart in Strongsville, there was a knifing incident where a woman attacked an older man over a printer. (“I need it more than you!” she allegedly had yelled. So her Black Friday shopping was in pursuit of gifts for herself…?)

The chaos stretches far past the borders of Ohio. One of the more extreme cases reported had occurred in Los Angeles, where a woman pepper sprayed fellow shoppers out of desperation to get her hands on an Xbox. She ended up hurting 20 people, which is absurd because Xboxes aren’t even that great anyway. (But for a Wii? Maybe…)

Then of course one must consider the chaos outside the shopping centers. Out on the road, people suddenly forget how to drive. Mirroring their “me first” attitude in the stores, drivers think it is a good idea to cut in front of others, regardless if nearby drivers notice. And never mind turn signals. Or stop lights. Strung up on caffeine and the thrill of the hunt, Black Friday aficionados will stop for nothing, not even the law.

Inherently, Black Friday is American consumerism at its worst. It’s a recipe for economic success but it’s also a recipe for disaster. People are encouraged to spend, spend, spend, regardless if they can afford to, and shove aside anyone who happens to be blocking their path. The drive to get more things, the drive to want more, overrides humility and sensibility. It sounds ridiculous to think that this holiday was once founded off the birth of Jesus. Somewhere along the way, Christmas and greed merged into one unrecognizable monster.

And so I say “no, thank you” to Black Friday. Maybe next year I won’t even venture into the chaos at all. Even with some of the discounts, most items found at the mall are overpriced and, with Amazon being my current obsession, I’d probably find a better deal online. Not to mention I would be spared of the pushing and angry snarls of impatience as I reach for the same item in a bin.

Besides, if I really wanted to skip out on sleep, I’d simply write one of many papers I’m required to finish before the semester’s grand finale of scholarly woe and angst.

But that doesn’t seem nearly as dramatic.