To Shop, Or Not To Shop


Madison Choi

Black Friday falls on Nov. 24 this year.

Early Christmas shopping, sales, overworked employees, and rude customers are all words that may come to mind in relation to Black Friday. At least these were the mixed initial reactions of a handful of Chaminade University of Honolulu students.

Black Friday, the day that supposedly kicks off the holiday shopping season and busiest day of the year for retailers, falls on Nov. 24. This day has sparked controversy and warranted polarizing opinions as it directly follows Thanksgiving and is infamously recognized as a catalyst for greed and violence. Four Chaminade students weighed in on the conversation and their opinions were far from consensus.

“I think it’s really ironic,” said Elijah Moore, freshman Social Studies major. “We spend a whole day – well not anymore because stores start [sales] on Thursday night – being thankful for what we have in life but then will go crazy buying things either the next day or that same night. The people I’ve talked to always say ‘well it’s to buy presents for Christmas,’ but they always come back with some stuff for them as well. I’m not saying it’s bad to get items for yourself in the slightest, just that it’s ironic and a bit upsetting.”

As Moore mentioned, many retailers have chosen to stay open on Thanksgiving Day, welcoming customers to partake in sales even earlier than Black Friday. Some companies with a similar distaste for covetous shopping so soon after the Thanksgiving holiday have resolved to remain closed on Thanksgiving and have even created marketing campaigns to encourage customers to spend time with their loved ones instead of shopping.

REI, a company that sells outdoor gear, launched its #OptOutside campaign in 2015, which paid its employees and inspired its customers to spend time in nature with friends and family on Thanksgiving and Black Friday by closing shop. Other retailers who will remain closed this Thanksgiving include Costco, Nordstrom, and Home Depot.

Companies like REI that choose to stay closed on Black Friday are far and few between. With more than 154 million shoppers who participated last year, according to the National Retail Federation, Black Friday proves to be a critical profit-yielding day for stores. The Federation claimed that 8 in 10 millennials (ages 18-34) joined in the 2016 shopping festivities over the Black Friday weekend, contributing greatly to retail earnings.

“It’s weird,” admits sophomore Alexis Reese. “But I feel like there’s no connection. Even though [Black Friday] is the day after [Thanksgiving], I feel like it’s a separate thing.”

Aiea native, Reese is one millennial who eagerly anticipates the unparalleled Black Friday sales. This year she plans to continue the tradition of Black Friday shopping with her two sisters at Pearlridge Center. The three go every other year. Reese is most excited for the deals on clothing and plans to visit Hot Topic and Game Stop.

Other students are indifferent toward the concept of Black Friday and acknowledge the positive and negative aspect of the experience.

“For most people, it’s their day to get gifts for people that they normally couldn’t buy at other times of the year,” Chris Yates said. “So I like the concept. The day it is maybe isn’t the best after Thanksgiving, though.”

The sophomore Accounting major from Chicago has never been Black Friday shopping and would rather sleep in the morning after Thanksgiving.

Viewing Black Friday from an outside perspective was Mikayla Poon, a freshman Communication major from Singapore where neither Thanksgiving nor Black Friday is observed. Poon experienced her first Black Friday at Ala Moana Center last year and claimed that it was less crazy than she expected.

“I think that the obsession with Black Friday in America is all fun and games till someone gets hurt, literally, and I don’t see an issue there besides the physical aspect where people attack each other over sales,” Poon said.

Black Friday is no stranger to violence. Throughout the years, Reddit forums have been dedicated to retail workers and shoppers alike, prodding the internet for horror stories. As it turns out, witnesses of trampling, scratching, and punching are in abundance.

As the varying opinions of Black Friday conveyed, there are both downsides and benefits to the shopping day. It seems that proponent, protestor, and indifferent non-shopper alike can agree on one thing, that Black Friday suffers from poor placement on the calendar.

“I think it’s pretty ironic in a humorous way…which I appreciate,” Poon said.