Record-breaking sales on Black Friday were marred by pepper spray attacks, attempted robberies and shootings, displaying the ultimate contradiction that defines the day after Thanksgiving.
A woman at the Porter Ranch Wal-Mart pepper sprayed 20 customers, including children, in an attempt to get more door buster merchandise. At a Wal-Mart in South Carolina, police reported a shooting that resulted from an attempted robbery in the parking lot.
These events join a long list of mishaps in the history of Black Friday that includes the recurring trend of customer trampling. This record of inconsiderate and even violent behavior on the American shopping holiday should serve as a warning for the shift in priorities of the people, but still it goes relatively unnoticed.
Most retail stores opened their doors earlier than ever, with some such as Wal-Mart opening as early as 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving. While it is understandable that the stores extended their hours to gain as much profit as possible, it makes an alarming statement about our country.
There needs to be a Black Friday boycott next year. Consumers need to reassess priorities.
Instead of spending the entire Thanksgiving day camped out in front of stores, perfecting plans of attack and means for fending off other customers, people should be at home with family.
Thanksgiving should be reclaimed as a day spent focusing entirely on relaxation and appreciation for the loved ones.
Instead of lining up with other conniving consumers and snacking on fast food while waiting for the retail doors to welcome in the madness, all zealous Black Friday shoppers should try to recall the last traditional Thanksgiving they have shared with their families.
If those memories bring any fond feelings to the surface, hold on to those feelings and reconsider future Thanksgiving plans.
For too long people have been at the mercy of Black Friday madness, and based on the behavior of customers this year and the increasingly earlier store hours, this fever is only going to get worse.
It is uncertain when Americans lost appreciation for the holiday and the meaning behind it. Thanksgiving must return to the family holiday it used to be, instead of spending the day with strangers that we will later fight for some prized item.