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Student story: Has Black Friday shopping gone too far?

To shop or not to shop? That is the question. Black Friday has been a post-Thanksgiving tradition for a while, but there is some controversy surrounding it. Black Friday deals are considered some of the best of the year, and they are difficult to pass up, but some are wondering if the deals are taking away from the Thanksgiving holiday.

According to BlackFriday.com, a website designed to view the major Black Friday deals from one location, the Friday after Thanksgiving, otherwise known as “Black Friday,” will be celebrating its 90th anniversary this Nov. 28. This “holiday,” as some consider it, made its debut in America in 1924 after the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Since then, stores have been marking down prices on items that range from apparel to furniture in order to attract eager shoppers.

Black Friday, though it seems like an innocent enough event, has caused physical fights and injuries, and there have been a few reported deaths over the years. In 2008, there was a 34-year-old Walmart employee working Black Friday who was trampled to death. On the same day in 2008, there was a shooting in Toys “R” Us, and one man died. Though most of the time there are only small disputes, these deaths have acted as a wake-up call to retailers across the country. They recognized that in order to keep sanity in their stores, they needed to split up the sale times from just one day.

Instead of opening at 6 a.m., stores have started opening earlier and earlier, pushing back times for deals into the early morning and even into the night prior. This is in hopes to beat out the competition and to spread out the times for shoppers so that there is a smaller stream of customers at a time.

Online shopping is another way participating stores have tried to continue drawing in customers while not having the insanity inside the store. The sales have spread into the weekend, and Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) has become a big event in recent years as well.

Now there are some stores that begin their sales Thanksgiving night. The Outlet Mall in Chesterfield, Sears and Kohl’s are opening at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and Toys “R” Us, Best Buy, JCPenney and Lowe’s are opening at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

These new Black Friday traditions cause people to leave early from friend and family holiday parties in order to get in line or drive to a store to find the best deal. Walmart, as an example, is selling 46-inch Samsung HDTVs for $428 and the Microsoft Surface 2 for $449, and though those are great deals, some people are wondering: Is an electronic worth it?

Amy Buckley from Waterloo’s Helping Hands Thrift store does not think so. She remarks that she “(doesn’t) care for Black Friday shopping. It becomes chaotic and unsafe for some people.”

Co-worker Percy Vargas adds that it is “too commercialized. It takes away from the spirit of the holiday.”

Vargas seems to sum up what many Black Friday protesters are thinking, “This isn’t the reason this holiday is around,” Vargas said. “It’s not all about shopping. It’s about being with the family.”

Black Friday shopping is fun, and nearly every shopper will walk away with a fantastic deal. Macy’s was the first store to broadcast Black Friday deals, but the idea has spread to many of the major companies since then.

The unbelievable prices have attracted so many shoppers that the sale day had to be extended, and now it is nearly a week-long shopping extravaganza. Though the deals seem unsurpassed, has Black Friday overstayed its welcome this holiday season?

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