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Black Friday: Gateway to Holiday Hell

I went home over Thanksgiving break hoping to escape the madness of student life at UCD. Instead, I went back to witness the consumer madness known as Black Friday.

I went home to the Bay Area for Thanksgiving break, hoping to escape it all. Papers, group projects, you name it. 

No such luck. As soon as I walked through the door, my mom wanted to know all about "what was going on at Davis." She, like so many others across the country (and overseas) had seen video footage of the now infamous UCD Police  a line of peaceful protestors.

Once the interrogation was over, I was able to enjoy a peaceful meal with the family at my grandmother's house on Thanksgiving Day. The peace was brief: I went home early so I could grab a few hours of sleep before going in to work at 4 a.m.

That's right folks -- rather than lining up at midnight as a Black Friday shopper, I was one of the disgruntled workers at Macy's in the women's shoe department.

I had been dreading this day for weeks, particularly since a "Black Friday" rendition of Rebecca Black's  YouTube hit, "Friday," aired on television. Another disturbing commercial was for Target, where a woman was "preparing" for Black Friday as though she were training for a marathon. At one point, she stares creepily into a mirror and tells her reflection, "You will win this."

Although I assume this was intended to be funny, I realized on Black Friday that many women were this serious about shopping.

Even in the wee hours of the morning, the shoe department was flooded with customers armed with coupons and credit cards. By 9 a.m. the place looked like a battlefield -- shoeboxes were strewn across the sales floor like casualties of a consumer war. 

The rest of the day was a sleep-deprived blur. I read later that members of the Occupy San Francisco movement had taken it upon themselves to protest corporate greed by attempting to prevent shoppers from entering San Francisco stores. They were mostly ignored.

While I find myself sympathetic to their cause, I also find myself struggling with my own relationship with Black Friday and consumerism. While resentful of the fact that I sacrificed sleep to cater to customer demands, I was grateful for the opportunity to make some extra money.  

I am also not immune to consumerism. Confession: I did go shopping with my mom later that night. While I wish I could say that Christmas presents don't matter, they do. I enjoy spoiling family members and close friends and am appreciative of new clothes or technology.

Yet I do have a bone to pick with Black Friday, which serves as the unofficial gateway to the holiday season. As discussed by a fellow Patch blogger, Black Friday can bring out the worst in people, whether they are  or . 

Is this really what the holidays have become?

I suggest we all take a step back, and consider what the holiday season should truly be about: spending time with loved ones and showing kindness to those in need. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Joshua Staab December 01, 2011 at 05:55 PM
An interesting point, Lauren. Job security in this age can't be taken for granted, even if it means having to spend time contributing to the consumer establishment. Yet, in the end, it isn't even the establishment's fault for the way people decide to conduct themselves on the high-stress day known as Black Friday even if it's in the name of getting those gifts to the ones they love. It is indeed a disturbing dichotomy.
Alexander Ogloza December 07, 2011 at 05:05 AM
haha Macy's Woman's shoe department = #1 place I wouldn't want to be on black friday. At least you made it out alive.

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