Consumerism causes the chaos of Black Friday

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The lines stretch on for blocks. Shoppers stand on top of each other. The doors open and a stampede of deal-thirsty people rush into the store, elbowing each other and fighting over flat screen TVs and every other item in the store.

Hours before, these families were gathered around a table eating a feast in honor of a holiday that reminds us all to be thankful for the blessings in our lives.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Honestly, the whole idea of Black Friday has always bothered me.

It used to start at midnight on Friday, but over the years, the sales for many stores have crept up to Thanksgiving evening.

I’ve seen insane videos of people tackling one another and throwing fists and practically killing one another just to get a product that is 50 percent cheaper than usual.

The chaos of consumerism has taken away from Thanksgiving.

When I sit back and see videos and pictures of long lines of consumers who would rather shop than spend time with their family, it makes me frustrated and disappointed.

Partaking in Black Friday once or twice isn’t bad, but making it a tradition?

A tradition that causes more excitement and preparation than Thanksgiving? That’s when it’s time to step back and reevaluate priorities.

One popular campaign, “Opt Outside,” aims to spend time outside at parks and monuments on Black Friday rather than shopping.

It is definitely a lot less stressful and more peaceful out in nature, rather than in a beehive of crazy consumers.

For example, I spent part of my weekend near the Badlands, a park close to where I live. I packed a water bottle and a camera in my backpack and that was it.

The morning sun gave the area a golden glow and colorful Native American prayer cloths decorated a few trees.

It was beautiful, especially in the early hours of the morning and it was so much more fulfilling than a hectic sale at a store.

Sales will happen — new technology will always be at our disposal.But only get this time to spend with family and friends so many times a year. It’s up to us to decide whether Black Friday or the holiday spirit deserves our attention.

Next year, it’s up to us to decide whether corporations or family members deserve our attention.

Sales will always happen. A large family that is all together won’t always be around.

Rachel Astleford is a nutrition & dietetics major at SDSU and can be reached at rachel.astleford@jacks.sdstate.edu.

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