With Black Friday arriving closer and closer to Thanksgiving dinner each year, the holiday has taken a back seat to the late-night sales.
The holiday, created to express gratitude, is being replaced by a consumerist mosh pit of individuals looking to buy unnecessary items for a discounted price.
In 2012, a record $59.1 million was spent during the weekend of Black Friday, according to CNN.
The National Retail Federation reported that the number was a 13 percent increase from the $52.4 billion spent the year before.
Black Friday is usually seen as the beginning of the winter holiday season, with many customers looking to get a head start on their holiday shopping. As the trend grows, more and more stores want their piece of the pie.
With a larger number of stores opening up Thanksgiving night, corporations are putting an increased emphasis on the consumer-generated profit as opposed to the employees that are forced to leave their families for work.
Macy’s is opening on Thanksgiving Day for the first time, according to a press release by the retailer. The store had remained closed on the holiday for the past 155 years, according to the Huffington Post.
Walmart’s sales will start at 6 p.m., two hours earlier than the year before.
Kmart, however, decided to open its doors at 6 a.m. Thanksgiving Day and remain open until 11 p.m. the following night.
It was common for stores to open early the morning after Thanksgiving. Beginning in the late 2000s, stores began opening earlier and earlier to avoid competition from other retailers. As the greed grew and corporations saw higher profit margins when stores opened earlier, Black Friday began intruding more and more on Thanksgiving dinner.
The importance of a family reunion during the holiday is nothing but an afterthought for these retailers. At the cost of valuable family time, employees are forced to leave their homes at either really late or really early hours, depending on the store’s opening, to clock in and assist the swarms of shoppers.
Fortunately, retailers such as Nordstrom announced its stores will remained closed in observance of Thanksgiving Day.
“We won’t be decking our halls until Friday, November 29. Why? We just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time,” read the sign posted on stores nationwide.
With Thanksgiving and Christmas being only a month away, the transition period between the two holidays is short. Even before Thanksgiving arrives, stores nationwide are already laying out their Christmas decorations and music, undercutting the importance of Thanksgiving.
The fact that Christmas and other winter holidays are now highlighted by gift-giving exposes today’s materialistic society.
Thanksgiving is meant to bring families and friends together to reflect upon the meanings of the little things they value more than material possessions.
However, the cultural idea that “want” is more important than “need” is reflected in the differences between these two holidays.
Families cannot fathom living with bare necessities anymore, unless they are unwillingly forced into such a circumstance. Instead, individuals have been morphed into gluttonous, self-absorbed human beings who believe that the Xbox One bundle sold at a highly discounted price of $499 will make them any more important than their neighbor.
Discounted electronics and clothes will always be more important to Americans than valuing the importance of family. Quality family time has morphed from its traditional conversation oriented dinners to running around in a crowded mall, pushing and shoving through the clusters of people getting their hands on a 32-inch television to replace the model they bought last year.
Thanksgiving is no more. If sale-hungry consumers and profit-obsessed retailers have their way, Thanksgiving will be sucked into a black hole. It will be torn to shreds by individuals frantically looking for its price tag before throwing it back on the shelf. Thanksgiving is on the verge of becoming nothing more than Black Thursday.