The Effects of Black Friday

Priscilla Bermudez, Copy Editor

Black Friday, a tradition where stores offer an array of discounts on their goods —  first appearing in 1951— remains one of the most anticipated events of the holiday season. In this  digital age, the newly introduced Cyber Monday is also highly anticipated. These two days of shopping —  which in reality span the entire weekend — promote overconsumption because consumers feel the urge to buy things just because of the event, not out of necessity.

The desire to beat other customers for the best prices on goods creates intense feelings in customers. Chaos ensues as people fight over the last, heavily-discounted electronic item. According to PBS, customers are more aggressive due to sleep deprivation and the urge to take advantage of the best sales, even if they do not need the item.

Days like Black Friday also negatively affect our environment. After people buy items they do not need, they end up discarding the items. Additionally, according to Greenpeace, producers of fast fashion take advantage of these shopping days to produce more clothes. This increased production of clothing uses fresh water and pollutes rivers and seas with toxic chemicals.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday increase waste in more ways than just fast fashion. According to National Geographic, originally sought after electronics end up as“e-waste” and get thrown into landfills, where they risk releasing toxins into the atmosphere. In addition, a large amount of plastic is used to create products; almost 91% does not end up being recycled and it ends up in the ocean. 

Though Black Friday and Cyber Monday have negative effects, many Americans still eagerly take advantage of the discounts offered on these days  Over 150 million Americans shopped in stores and online on Thanksgiving weekend in 2015, according to Eartheasy.

The tradition of shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving and throughout the weekend is too entrenched in American culture to take away.  However, one thing people can do to mitigate negative effects is to change the way they approach Black Friday and Cyber Monday. People can  be more mindful of what they need; they should try to keep in mind what they are interested in purchasing instead of falling susceptible to the mania and buying anything they can get their hands on.