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The news site of Hinsdale Central High School

Devils' Advocate

The news site of Hinsdale Central High School

Devils' Advocate

Happy Fill-that-gaping-hole-of-greed Day!

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Everyday we groan about how tired we are and complain about waking up at 6 a.m. for school. But on Nov. 23, there will be no complaining, and it will be no problem. With alarm clocks set to 4 a.m., it’s not just any Friday—it’s Black Friday.

Ironically right after the day designated to celebrate gratitude for nonmaterial blessings like family and friends, Americans indulge in a tradition of feeding the bottomless pit of wanting more material items. Thanksgiving has transitioned from a day of acknowledging what we have into a day of preparing for Black Friday shopping. Some stores even open doors for Black Friday sale shopping on Thanksgiving, like Target, which opens at 9 p.m. on Thursday.

Some students believe that Black Friday takes away from the traditional meaning of Thanksgiving. “My mom always thinks it’s more of a Thanksgiving weekend, more than just one day, because it takes so long to prepare for and we do a lot of family stuff. I think [Black Friday] would be better if it was closer to Christmas,” said Shelby Long, sophomore.

Long has shopped on Black Friday several times. This year, she will again emerge as one among the millions of shoppers—last year set records with 226 million Black Friday shoppers, and the number continues to rise.

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The purpose of Thursday is to give thanks, hence Thanksgiving.  After maintaining the tradition for more than two centuries, President Lincoln declared it a national holiday in 1863. He declared this not out of commercialization, but in memory of the friendship, the harvest, and the gratitude.

But we all know that our own Thanksgiving celebrations will not last three days. We will think of family and food for a while on Thursday, but then we will spend the rest of the day checking emails for updates on sale discounts, making lists of everything we want to buy, and planning the earliest, most aggressive approach at all our favorite stores. Some of us will even pitch a tent and spend the night on the sidewalk.

Long’s aunt and cousin camp outside of Toys R US every year, but Long herself never has. Instead, she considers the value of Black Friday altogether. “I get it for the really expensive things, but if you’re just going to buy a shirt, that’s stupid,” Long said.

Why bother? Why jump from one extreme of non-materialism to the next extreme of materialism? Why not just enjoy all that you celebrated for on the previous day?

“I think it’s ironic. It’s just Thanksgiving, you’re not really in the spirit yet—I’m not, anyways,” said Regan Serwat, sophomore.

Maybe potential solutions await to bridge this dramatic jump between Thursday and Friday. Moving Black Friday closer to Christmas would create a timely opportunity to Christmas shop, and it would also separate the extreme materialism from the reflection on gratitude (the expression of gratitude that is already scarcer than should be).

Stealing attention from the entire concept of Thanksgiving, Black Friday just feeds the selfish holes of greed. Instead of reflecting on the non-material things—love and happiness—to be thankful for, people reflect on what they need to buy to fill the gaping necessity of material items.

So, happy Thanksgiving and happy fill-that-gaping-hole-of-greed day.

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