The Day After Thanksgiving

This sacred unofficial holiday is a day that millions of people around the world wait all year for. People save up their money for this expendable day, and often times, people have been killed in urgency and anticipation of this day. This is the day that follows Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday. Black Friday is often regarded as the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season with major retailers opening their doors early and offering promotional sales. Anxious shoppers line up outside of shopping malls and outlet stores hours before the store opens even earlier than normal, sometimes claiming their spot the evening of Thanksgiving. When the store doors finally open in the early hours of that Friday morning, herds of people trample their way inside the stores to get the best deals on products before they’re gone. Sometimes the crowds of people are so overwhelming and powerful that in 2008 in New York, a Walmart employee was trampled to death on Black Friday. But what exactly compels people to participate in Black Friday?

Poststructuralism views culture through a powerful lens, theorizing that power acts as an agent of economic, political, and social trends. On Black Friday, all of the major retail stores and companies hold the power in their hands. Poststructuralism also offers the notion that where there is power, there is resistance. One could argue that case on this particular day. With corporations such as Walmart, people are opposed to shopping there due to the fact that Walmart buys their products from China where labor is cheap and their control over the market. But on Black Friday, places like Walmart slash their already cheap prices to a point where even the most stubborn liberal gives in and spends a quick dollar or two on products.

According to Boasian theory, cultural traits pass from one culture to another in an element of cultural diffusion. Black Friday isn’t just tied to the United States, although it is often the place that most people associate with Black Friday. Countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, and Brazil have adopted this successful unofficial holiday, and statistically have almost doubled their total revenue in one year with the adoption of this tradition. Canada adopted Black Friday to keep their citizens from traveling across the border into the United States, and in turn proved to be a crafty move on their part with some Canadian stores tracking 10 to 11 times higher during the week of Black Friday than average. This successful notion of cultural Black Friday is spreading quickly throughout the globe, and in the future, could potentially become a world-wide custom. What a crazy world that would be!

—Mckinley Q.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Money Essay (2013). Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to The Day After Thanksgiving

  1. Stephanie Grossart says:

    I never knew other countries had black friday. I thought the Unites States was the only country to have crazy enough people to deal with the crowds, lines, and madness. The stores hold all the power on black friday and I agree with the comparison of poststructuralism and walmart. Like myself, most people oppose walmart because their goods hurt american products. However, when a 32 inch tv only costs one hundred dollars people will put their opinions aside to get the best deal. It is crazy how economic trends can change how a person acts.

    • I really did think the US was the only country with it as well because of the emphasis on consumption here and the fact that it has to do with the idea of the Christmas Season beginning after Thanksgiving. Money can make people act crazy and the thought of saving so much money pleases everyone. However, I feel that people are always being scammed. It may look like you are saving money, but it’s hard to tell in the craziness of it all. My sister worked on black friday this year and she said it was crazy! I myself and plenty of people I know try to shop in stores that have all US made goods. I think it is in everyone’s best interest to try and shop smart as well.

  2. Annika Sandberg says:

    In my Class and Consumption course, we talked about Black Friday and how it reflects class differences. I think it’s interesting that people have such differing views on the day. Some find it enjoyable because it becomes such a spectacle, while others view it as a necessity because they are unable to afford the must have gifts of the year their regular prices. I think it would be interesting to examine the day through different classes. For example, with Poststructuralism, those who oppose Walmart are most likely those in a position to be able to do so (can afford to shop elsewhere) while those needing those deals, in under the power of Walmart.

    • Abi Peters says:

      I find the concept of Black Friday as reflective of class differences to be very insightful. I do think that, as was pointed out through the Boasian analysis, many people participate in Black Friday out of tradition. With that, I have always wondered how many people go for fun verses how many people go out of need? It would be very interesting to take a survey some home. I also think it would be interesting to compare Black Friday across cultures to see how each culture has made it their own as with McDonald’s in Russia – Black Friday spreading across many cultures despite the fact that those cultures do not celebrate Thanksgiving the day before is such a perfect example of globalization!

    • coltsedbrook says:

      About 3 years ago, I used to work for the Nike Factory Store in Lakewood, CO at the Colorado Mill mall. We sell primarily all Nike product at a discounted rate. The product that we would receive would be product that had been on the market for sometime, but was not current as far as a release date being of a week or two from the original release date. We carried product that had been released for months or sometimes years. Nike as a company has several ways of pushing their products, either by inline which Denver used to have in the store that was at the 16th Street Mall, Nike Town Denver. The company also has a factory line which has stores in Loveland, Lakewood, and Silverthorne here in Colorado.

      Being observant of all the customers that enter our store, we are trained as associates to remember the customer and try to bring the product to life. It was a great job and I continually had customers that would come into the store looking to speak with me about my expertise in the product. The difference between inline and factory was that inline carried more of the higher priced products compared to the factory side which carried more of the affordable product. Working in the Nike factory store we would have continual sales marketing certain percentage off either footwear, apparel or equipment. We would get the usual customer that would come from a higher class looking to buy an array of product from 3-4 pairs of shoes, to buying up to 6 sports bras, running shorts and pants, to buying a multitude of athletic t-shirts. We would also have individuals from the lower class come in to buy their children their new school shoes that these kids would have for a year. There was a difference between the classes. The amount of product bought was easy to notice.

      On to the topic of Black Friday. At Nike, Black Friday was a huge money maker for the company. We would average up to 150,000 to 250,000 dollars of sales in one day. There would always be preparation for the event such as getting more product to put on the sale room floor to hiring more staff to work throughout the long stress filled day. So in a sense a poststructuralist might conclude that Nike ultimately gains the most on Black Friday, just as Walmart gains a significant amount of income. Nike has all of its products made overseas in countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, China, and Thailand. The labor that makes the product do not receive as much as the company gains from sales. Nike is ultimately in power because of the materialistic view Americans have put on this top of the line product. Or is it the top of the line? That is up to the consumer to decide. This blog was well written and brought me back to the days where I felt overwhelmed with trying to help hundreds of customers during the day after Thanksgiving. Awesome Job McKinley.

      • Kayla Clancy says:

        This is very interesting insight on how a large global company works and your post shows clear issues that can be analyzed through post-structuralist theory and even a bit of political economy. Talking about the two different types of customers show that they belong to different subject positions in society. Not only does one come from an upper class that shops at Nike buying multiple items, but a post-structuralist would argue that this person holds a higher subject position. Although it’s primarily because of a higher income, the wealthier customer may also have more prestige in the store since employees are encouraged to remember returners. I would assume that when an employee makes a $500-600 sale on an individual who may come to the store multiple times a year, that employee remembers and appreciates this customer more than the one who comes in once a year for one set of shoes. The wealthier customer may also hold higher honor through the company itself as many companies give out discount cards or coupons to people who frequently shop at their stores or spend over a specific amount in one trip. Looking at this topic through the political economy lens, it can be seen that within the economic system of the United States, the culture has come to value the ability to purchase multiple items with certain brands on them. These brands, such as Nike, have becomes symbols of status. Being able to dress in full Nike gear that is right off the shelf shows others that you belong to a higher economic class and also are in a higher subject position.

  3. Emma Simpleman says:

    I think the Boasian approach to this topic was really interesting. I didn’t know that other countries such as Canada decided to adopt this tradition; especially for the reason that they don’t want their citizens to go into the United States to spend money that could be used to raise capital in Canada. I also think it would have been interesting to look at this topic through a Marxist view, to see if the tradition of black friday in the end capital either increases or decreases because of the event.

    • Lucy Johnson says:

      I agree Emma,

      The addition of the Boasian approach really gives the argument strength and backbone. In paralleling the United State’s approach to Black Friday with those of other countries really gives the audience a sense of how quickly the trend is spreading.

      I think the author could have also related post structuralism’s power in another way. The influence the store’s pricing has on it’s consumer’s is enormous. The stores are able to prompt people to camp outside of their buildings for deals rather that stay with the family and give thanks. This type of marketing forces people to make choices that change their life; it trains them to put consumer products over an actual tradition of giving thanks for what you haves. As the author outlines with examples, It definitely stimulates the economy in turn making the media companies, stores, and even consumers, who all benefit for the event, keep the tradition lively.

  4. Kait Bashford says:

    Black Friday was a very good idea for an essay topic! I was recently talking about this cultural holiday with some friends and found some interesting insights. I understand your poststructural view when you speak of the power of large corporations and the resistance of consumers. It is crazy to think that people have been killed over the newest commodities. That being said, I think that the struggle between producers and shoppers can also have explanations related to social class. While many think that it is ridiculous to line up for sales (especially after a day of giving thanks), I think the issue is broader than over-indulgent holiday crowds. Some people can only afford to buy Christmas presents when they are on sale, yet they are judged for doing so. Perhaps if the minimum wage in America was higher, spending money on your family wouldn’t be such a struggle. Perhaps less people would be tempted to stand outside in the freezing cold hours before a store opens to get their hands on something special for their loved ones. My Facebook was flooded with shocking videos of “consumers gone wild on Black Friday”, and it made me wonder if those who watch and post these videos are missing the point… that they are blessed enough to stay home on Black Friday, to buy their Christmas presents any day simply because they can afford to due so, sale or no sale. This could be an economic example of power and resistance due to inequalities among American classes.

  5. Colleen Godfrey says:

    I think it would also be important to look at people’s behavior on Black Friday through practice theory. Many of my friends and family members were talking about how ridiculous it was that the stores were opening up on Thursday night instead of Friday morning, yet they still went to all the doorbuster deals. They claimed that it was awful to make people work on Thanksgiving and take them away from their family but then they would see a deal that they just couldn’t miss out on and suddenly the employees didn’t matter anymore. They were claiming to not be a part of the greed that encompasses Black Friday but they still couldn’t completely detach themselves. The whole country has a day devoted to giving thanks and the day after is devoted to buying as many things as possible that they “need”.

  6. Steve Goddard says:

    It’s really interesting to look at how over time Black Friday has trended into a major event that people strategically plan for. It has even gone as far as to create another consumer event for the following monday called Cyber Monday. Taking into account the Historic Turn theory, it is significant to consider the evolution of this event, especially as it begins to take on new forms in other nations. I can certainly see it becoming a more widespread global event through cyber consumption more than anything else. That is really interesting that Canada developed a Black Friday event to prevent people from crossing into the U.S for deals; I certainly did not know that. I am curious what economic ramifications these events have on smaller companies that cannot offer bottom dollar deals that way larger corporations can. As a Colleen already mentioned above, Practice theory would be a great theory to help better understand this event.
    To this day, I still can’t believe that people have been killed during Black Friday events. I saw a South Park recently that pokes fun at this cultural event and how absolutely ridiculous it can be. People are filled with this false need to compete for material goods so veraciously. I am curious if the Cyber deals helps remediate the psychotic nature of the event. Looking at the ramifications of the consumer on the internet would be another great topic to evaluate the way in which cultures are shifting habits. This certainly is something that is more connected on a global scale!

    Good topic, thanks!

  7. Hannah Hilden-Reid says:

    Very well constructed argument, and a great topic to focus on. I found the theories that the author used to fit very well within the context of the paper. This topic allowed for the option to use numerous theories to express a similar argument. Two additional theories that could have been used are marxist and economic. A marxist interpretation would be concerned with the relationship between class struggles and between people in the United States as well as other societies around the world. It also is a great way to analyze and critique capitalism and materialism which would be perfect in this context. Whereas economic anthropology focuses on the systems of production, distribution, and consumption of resources across cultures which would be interesting to investigate in relationship to Black Friday products.

  8. Taylor Rose Martin says:

    This was a really interesting essay McKinley! I really enjoyed your analysis of Black Friday through the lens of post-structuralism. I think power relations are huge with Black Friday, especially as corporations practically control the modern world. If you had more room, it would be really interesting to view Black Friday through biopolitics. What is it about corporations that control people’s bodies? Particularly with connection to Black Friday, we can view the death and destruction of people’s bodies through the NEED to get the new and hot gadgets as a mode of control. Similarly, how do clothes and the advertisement of clothing correlate with Black Friday and biopolitics?

    It was interesting to view this tradition through Boasian eyes, especially in relation to Black Friday in other countries. It is not surprising that other countries have taken on this tradition, and that it has raised their GDP. However, a part of the Boasian theory that you have left out, due to space I’m sure, is viewing traditions in their historical context. How does the stock market crash of 1929 change Black Friday’s implications? How would a culture that wasn’t as affected by the crash, and not as centered around money and stocks view Black Friday and the stock market crash? If time allowed, it would be interesting to view this. Is the stock market crash and the death of people on Black Friday proof that money is evil, or does it state something else?

  9. I never knew other countries did not participate in black friday shopping, hence i think this is an awesome topic to bring up. The argument behind your paper is fantastic as well. I think that when looking at the Boasian theory it is nothing but obvious that other countries are quickly adapting this “holiday” as there own Not only are they trying to model what some to believe to be the ideal culture of america but they have raised profits that are circulating throughout their own economy. Overall i thought this was fantastic

  10. sorry i put in the wrong name..
    I never knew other countries did not participate in black friday shopping, hence i think this is an awesome topic to bring up. The argument behind your paper is fantastic as well. I think that when looking at the Boasian theory it is nothing but obvious that other countries are quickly adapting this “holiday” as there own Not only are they trying to model what some to believe to be the ideal culture of america but they have raised profits that are circulating throughout their own economy. Overall i thought this was fantastic

  11. Kyle Santi says:

    The poststructuralist explanation makes a lot of sense. Stores like Wal-Mart do have a lot of power solely through the amount of money they earn. Our consumerist economy relies on these stores to keep the economy going, which gives them more power. That is how these stores can convince us to shop there and how they can build up Black Friday to be a major event. Good article!

  12. dianamorse says:

    I’ve worked seasonal at Toy’s R Us for two years, and my partner is a supervisor there. We always enjoy watching the chaos that is B-Fri. I would be interested in seeing someone analyze the new trend in moving B-Fri into Thursday. Toys R Us opened at 5PM Thanksgiving evening this year, and we made our sales goal (~$95,000) by 9PM. Also, what of all the strikes and walkouts that are now becoming commonplace on Thursday and Friday? This cultural phenomenon is changing right before our eyes! I love the world twist this essay added in addressing other countries practice in B-Fri. Since those countries don’t have Thanksgiving, is it just one day, or are they edging into two days like the US does? I also wonder what would happen in those countries if a major holiday was in the middle of the buying frenzy. Would they have strikes and activism issues too?

    • Ashley Sanks says:

      Diana,

      As someone who has worked at Target over the Black Friday ‘holiday’ (?) I understand how interesting to watch how some people literally lose their minds over material objects. I haven’t worked there for about 3 years now, but I liked your comment on the strikes and boycotts that are now competing with the people who sleep outside Best Buy to make sure they get that ever-so-precious plasma screen t.v. If I had to choose a theory to follow this concept, I think Marxist Anthropology would fit well. Since it looks at oppositional struggle created by capitalism (among other factors) I think an interesting new observation is workers refusing to work on the nights when the stores open on Thanksgiving night. The CEO’s working in the company don’t work this night, but expect the holiday profits to pour in throughout the night. Whereas, workers (who are probably making minimum wage) are ripped apart from their families just to go to work and be ripped apart by crazy consumers. So I think it would be interesting from a Marxist perspective to see how well this oppositional struggle between workers and the companies themselves will play out next year due to the astounding amount of media time given to those protesting the system at large.

  13. Blaine Wajdowicz says:

    You remark on one facet of poststructuralism, but if we were to look at Black Friday from a biopolitical view, the U.S. economy can be viewed as a structuring institution acting on the shoppers’ bodies. Our economy is dependent on certain seasonal patterns, such as an increase in sales corresponding with the holidays. As such, the economy creates incentive and exerts forces to encourage sales throughout the season, such as kicking off the shopping season with Black Friday. To encourage even more excitement savings and deals are limited in quantity. This limited quantity of sales pits shoppers against each other, in competition for what may be the last 30% off Blu-Ray or TV. Normal shoppers are excited by caffeine, and aggressive towards each other to reach these sales, where normally they would be respectful of other people and other bodies in the store.

  14. Dakota Mendrick says:

    I thought the two theories you used were a really good way to look at Black Friday! In my opinion, in the United States Black Friday has gotten out of control so it was interesting to read about how other countries have adopted it. I never knew other countries participated in Black Friday! It would also be interesting to look at Black Friday as an economic anthropologist. I think an economic anthropologist would be interested in taking all the countries that participate in Black Friday and comparing each countries’ distribution and consumption of certain goods. For example, say Canada, the UK, Brazil, and the US all distributed vacuum cleaners on Black Friday. Economic anthropologists would be interested in seeing how many vacuum cleaners were supplied in each store and how many customers bought them. Overall a very interesting essay!

  15. Hunter Emmons says:

    Abi Peters had a good point mentioning that many people oftentimes partake in Black Friday for fun, rather than just for a tradition. In the past when I have gone shopping on Black Friday it was more as a means so see if there were any good sales or just to have the experience of a Black Friday. I also had no idea that other counties celebrated Black Friday, and it would be interesting to further look into cultural differences of how different countries celebrate their Black Friday’s. Both of your theories were used really well and I really enjoyed the Post-structuralist view. These corporations do have a huge part in influencing others. When you mentioned how even the most stubborn liberal might give in on Black Friday that is also a huge concept of Practice Theory, which would have also been a really interesting theory to dive into.

  16. Claire Cohen says:

    I really enjoyed your essay on Black Friday. I have been practicing buy nothing day instead of partaking in Black Friday for the past few years because of the injustices that are done due to the holiday. Not only does at least one person die from being trampled each year, but retail workers are forced to work hours without consent. This year, many major chain stores were opening on Thanksgiving night instead of early Friday morning, forcing individuals to leave their families on the holiday. I think that you could have expanded the post-structural ideas of power / resistance by considering the numerous boycotts, protests and over all backlash that Black Friday has received in recent years. I hope that this unofficial holiday does not spread around the world as you have predicted!

  17. Rachael Sheehy says:

    Though producers certainly hold the material power in the market of Black Friday sales, it is ultimately the consumers’ power to set the market price at which they are willing to purchase. While producers and suppliers make up for it in the large quantities sold, they are still making the compromise to drastically lower prices without the guarantee of a return on this “investment” through the spike in quantity purchased.
    The symbolism of Black Friday also lends to a description of the greater United States in its emphasis on the ease of acquirement. One of the perks of living in the United States and the western world overall is the ease of immediate gratification (provided one possesses adequate money of course). One of Black Friday’s most popular offerings, electronics, are often very difficult to acquire in other countries, especially those not belonging to the first world, by virtue of shortage and thus exorbitant prices or government constraints. Black Friday is a symbol not just of America’s wealth, but of the lauded trait of autonomy in which one does something not only for the personal benefit but also simply because there is the ability to do it.

  18. Gabe DuPont says:

    This was an interesting essay to read. I myself have never participated in Black Friday shopping, so the whole idea of it is very crazy to me. The theories you used were very well suited for your topic. Another theory that would have been interesting to use would have been Marxist anthropology. With so many people going and participating in Black Friday, it would be interesting to see if any of this were do to a class struggle or was the product of capitalism. As you said, Black Friday is becoming a global phenomenon and it is not likely to dissipate anytime. It is good to look at these sorts of things with anthropological perspective because it reveals a lot about our culture. Good job!

  19. Sophia Kolybabiuk says:

    I found this topic very interesting because the American custom of Black Friday became so popular that other countries adopted this unofficial holiday. Even though other countries don’t celebrate our tradition of Thanksgiving that ties in with Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving every year, the custom became so well known that it was globalized and shared amongst other countries which relates well to Boasian theory. Poststructuralism related to the example perfectly of certain people having such strong views against Walmart and refusing to buy their products. This group of people’s opinion completely changes when the special event of Black Friday occurs and there is a good deal at Walmart. They just can’t seem to resist, disregarding their strong opinions against Walmart they still seem to purchase the product on this occasion.

  20. Hayley Dardick says:

    I have always found it very ironic that each year on Thanksgiving we take the time to sit back and appreciate the things in our life that we value above all else. Friends, family, good health, etc. Then, the very next day- less than 24 hours following Thanksgiving dinner- crowds surround Walmarts and Best Buys and walls to in a surge of consumerism spend who knows how much on bags upon bags of material goods.This contradiction evokes the idea of Practice Theory in my mind. We can claim to value these things and preach that money can’t buy happiness, but do our actions on Black Friday really match this sentiment? Some people even give up celebrating the holiday in favor of camping out in lines in front of stores to ensure getting to best choice of products.

    I also saw a website this year with a running tab on Black Friday deaths and accidents in past years. It is ridiculously appalling to me that people actually die on this “holiday”. The intensity of this shopping is frightening. I don’t know, however, what could even be done to try to diminish this holiday. Trying to squash Black Friday would anger a lot of consumers and could potentially hurt businesses. This would be quite unlikely to be successful anyway.

    • Cassidy Reeves says:

      I completely agree with your idea of analyzing Black Friday through practice theory. Thanksgiving is holiday where spending time with your family is a big part of what the holiday is about. I think many people in the US would say they are thankful for their families, but on the Thanksgiving holiday actually spend more time in retail stores than with their loved ones. This year, some stores opened their Black Friday doors on Thursday night. Making the decision to shop or have family time even more drastic since it is on Thanksgiving.

      I also saw that same website. It’s called blackfridaydeathcount.com.

  21. Brianna Dascher says:

    I think it would be interesting to analyze Cyber Monday as well as Black Friday, which is where equivalently huge sales occur in the online marketplace. I think this not only shows how cultures have changed in the face of new technology, but also exemplifies poststructuralism as well. It shows the movement of economic power. In past years, Black Friday or its equivalent was only in stores, where all the corporate power rested. Now, with sites like Amazon, that are solely online, companies have had to expand Black Friday to Cyber Monday in order to compete. Now, online markets are being passed the economic power.

    • Nick Young says:

      I also think Cyber Monday would be interesting to look at. Specifically because it forces smaller retailers (I have clothing companies in mind) to have ridiculous deals that they might not have had otherwise. This could be positive, or negative, depending on the financial situation for the company. If a small company is in a vulnerable position financially, selling their product with a very small profit margin, essentially giving it away could be the end of them. But if they don’t do it to compete with their rivals, customers could get upset and not buy from them later. Basically what I’m saying, black friday and cyber monday are just another way that corporate America can asset its power over smaller, individually owned companies.

      Bah humbug.

  22. Nick Young says:

    Just a funny story relating to black friday:

    I work at a non-retail store that is in the same parking lot as a Sports Authority. I pulled into the parking lot at 4:45am to go into work. There was no line at the Sports Authority yet, because they were not opening until 7:30am. There was a car parked right in front of the store, and as soon as I pulled into a parking space in the back of the lot, an entire family jumped out of the car and ran to the front of the store to be the first people in line. I was a little early for work, and decided to sit in my car for a few minutes before going in. I also wanted to observe what the family would do if they realized that I wasn’t there to shop. It was pretty cold that morning, and sure enough, after about 5 minutes, they walked back to their car.

    The funny thing is, a couple of minutes after they went back to their car, someone who was there to line up at Sports Authority drove up. Sure enough, the family did the same thing and ran up to the store.

    Silly people.

  23. Elliott Cairns says:

    It is somewhat frightening seeing the extent people go to score the cheapest products that they can. A nice byproduct of Black friday is Cyber Monday, in which online products are reduced and shopping is done within the home and without the fear of being trampled. Our foundation as capitalistic society has fueled the tradition of Black Friday and is viewed by both the producer and the consumer as a beneficial holiday. Large companies can afford to slash their prices and still increase profits by double or triple the amount. Small business is hurt from this and in my mind furthers the wealth gap that has exponentially increased in the past 8 years. Though action has been taken to help small business against Black Friday but until then Black Friday has become a yearly holiday enjoyed by millions of Americans.

  24. McKenzie A says:

    I have never particularly liked the holiday Black Friday. I have never understood why people want to stand in lines for hours in hopes to get a product that may or may not be on sale or may be sold out by the time the get there. I really like the use of Poststructualism in this blog. I definitely can see how the shops hold the power in this situation. People all over wake up at the crack of dawn to race to their favorite department store to buy as many items as they can at a cheaper price. These people often spend more money on this day than they would on any normal shopping day, so the store cutting prices definitely influences the buyer to spend more money.

  25. Patrick Curtin says:

    I loved learning that other countries also have Black Friday. I’ve always hated the holiday but was dragged to wal-mart by my brother this year. I think it’s a perfect example of poststructuralism and power in our current society. Overall the essay was very exciting to read. I think you could’ve looked at Black Friday through a symbolic view and how these items we wait out to buy are more important to us than our families and friends.

  26. Molly Gordon says:

    I really enjoyed this peice. Before reading this, I had not know that Black Friday was an occurance in other countries. I agree with your choice of explaining this “holiday” through a post structuralist point of view. Walmart had a lot of power over the public because of globalized consumerism. Great job!

  27. Sophia Grenier says:

    This is interesting. I didn’t know other countries did Black Friday. I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising, considering the money it must feed back into the economy. I think your analyzation of this day through structuralism makes a lot of sense. I generally don’t leave the house on Black Friday because of how crazy everything gets, so this was a cool read for me. Good job!

  28. Martin Golibart says:

    I find Black Friday culturally fascinating. Looking through a Poststructuralist lens, it would be interesting to look at Black Friday when thinking about hegemonic systems. On Black Friday, a hegemonic system is set up where companies and businesses influence the public. The shoppers show consent to these Black Friday sales, by all agreeing that everyone will buy like crazy that day. The idea of shopping like mad on the Friday after Thanksgiving is imposed by the companies and businesses. The shoppers comply and adhere to these impositions. Black Friday is a crazy hegemonic holiday.

  29. Danielle Maxey says:

    That is really interesting that other countries have started to participate in Black Friday. I liked your use of the theories and I felt they fit well. It would be an interesting study of people who don’t participate in Black Friday. The only time I have ever been Black Friday shopping was with a friend who had begged me to come along and I ended up not buy anything anyways. My parents were always against huge crowds and waiting in long lines no matter how good the deal was. It is interesting to think about how it is moving into other cultures. I noticed this year that many stores started their “Black Friday” sales on Thursday this year which you could also use different theories to explain why that is.

  30. Rachel Echsner says:

    I thought this was an interesting topic to write on and one that is somewhat relatable. Last year I decided to go Black Friday shopping, just to see what all the hype was about, and it actually is as crazy as this paper describes. There was a half a mile long line outside of Victoria’s Secret just because they were having 40% off bras! It was a crazy experience and one that I don’t think I would participate in again… I thought that the two theories you used to discuss this topic were both relevant and useful. I had no idea that other countries had adopted this event, so that was an insightful little tidbit of information. Good job!

  31. Stephanie Sanchez says:

    I had no idea that other countries had the unofficial holiday. It’s interesting to see how “global” our society has become. I like the way Boasnian anthropology was used because it explains diffusion and the spread of culture to another culture. I think that since I thought Black Friday was a US only “holiday” it’s interesting for me to think that. As if we were the only country thinking of huge shopping sprees in order to start the holidays. It would be interesting to see how a culture and personality anthropologist would view Black Friday. It probably be seen as a class practice as well. Or even practice theory because maybe people who never shop at Walmart would never want to admit to going there even on Black Friday. But if iPads are on sale then we will say we hate walmart but just this time it’s ok.

  32. Martha Daley says:

    Great essay!! I really enjoyed your choice of this topic as I, too, as others have said, find it ironic that shortly after a holiday where we give thanks for what we have, we feel the need to go out and get more stuff! I really liked the use of post-structural theory. I found it interesting this year that I saw signs all over pearl street advertising “shop local Saturday” for the day after Black Friday, encouraging people to support local businesses. This seemed like it could be another crack in the hegemonic power of large companies over consumers. I had no idea that other countries also participated in Black Friday, so that was interesting to discover. It would be interesting to analyze this phenomena through the lens of globalization and global markets with an emphasis in political economy.

  33. Kitman Gill says:

    I’ve never gone shopping on Black Friday, but I’ve always thought that the whole idea was a little weird. I researched it a couple years back to give myself some answers. I now realize I was historicizing this odd phenomenon. The name started in Philadelphia. The “black” part comes from a company being “in the black”, or turning a profit. It was spurred on by the appearance of Santa at the end of many Thanksgiving day parades. Many stores took the appearance of Santa as a sign that holiday sales should start. Pretty soon, stores started having massive sales and competing with each other for the earliest opening times. From a Marxist standpoint, the sales are a really good move. People think they’re getting a good deal, so they buy more things, and spend more money. Oh, capitalism. And in the heat of the moment and the craziness of Black Friday, people are so desperate and driven that they don’t even notice how much they’ve spent, just how much they’ve saved. All of this helps individual companies turn a profit for the year and make it into the black.

  34. Christopher McKeown says:

    From the beginning of this paper, I really enjoy the unrecognized notion you place on Black Friday. This is a really interesting subject that I believe goes unnoticed every year, that you do an excellent job of highlighting. One of the more interesting points you make, “places like Walmart slash their already cheap prices to a point where even the most stubborn liberal gives in and spends a quick dollar or two on products,” is really interesting when you group the extreme liberal with the rest of the population. I don’t know if you could’ve highlighted this difference and expand on the reasons for Black Friday, or even look into how they pick their products or go about shopping differently. The one question I really have is the large accusation you make with Walmart having all their products made in China. This is very interesting and calls for a look into Walmart’s operations chain, I would really like to see where you’ve taken this research from.

  35. Erica Blais says:

    I have often commented on how I think it is ironic how people go out and spend their money on materialistic items the day after our society stops and gives thanks for all that we already have. I must admit that Black Friday has become a tradition associated with Thanksgiving and the holiday season in my own life. After the Thanksgiving festivities, I prepare myself to spend the following night hours searching for deals with my friends and family. Black Friday could definitely be tied to marxist theory or political economy. The hierarchy of class and power, and the influence of capitalism is a driving factor behind Black Friday. It would be interesting to look at how socioeconomic class impacts how people participate in Black Friday. What stores individuals shop at and what they purchase may be based on their socioeconomic standing. I wonder if those of higher up in the economic and political hierarchy sit out on the Black Friday rush since they do not have to necessarily feel the pressure to purchase items at a lower price. Black Friday is a huge money making event for corporations and companies; it is most certainly tied to the capitalist values of societies. The spread of the Black Friday event to other countries reflects the impacts of globalization. The production and spread of not only the products but also the consumer mentality behind Black Friday could be closely associated with economic anthropology.

  36. Saskia Newkirk says:

    I enjoyed your choice of topic, however, I was surprised that you did not use political economy or Marxist anthropology to address this phenomena. A Marxist Anthropologist may view Black Friday as a product of living in a capitalist economy. In a nation where the market economy and capitalism are integral to most practices, it is somewhat unsurprising that it results in consumer-based “holidays” such as this.

  37. Colton Erickson says:

    I agree that perhaps economic or marxist anthropology would have been even better theories from which to view this topic. However, I thought that your statement regarding the power that stores hold over consumers was very interesting. The idea of this power in the hands of stores like Walmart is something I don’t think even crosses the minds of consumers on Black Friday. If a store can make people go against their ideals (like the liberals going to Walmart) simply by dropping their prices, what does that say about our American culture?

  38. Neil Tobiasen says:

    Good choice choosing this topic. Black Friday is one of my least favorite days of the year. It almost brings humans back to the neanderthal days, acting like savages who would kill each other over a PS4. Mindless people flowing through the mall life a school of fish trying to obtain the best bargains they can because they feel it is their right on Black Friday. It was extremely interesting to me that there is even Black Fridays in other countries, showing the Boasian anthropology viewpoint of diffusion of cultures to other countries. If people get killed being trampled in door rushes at Best Buy in America, I can only wonder what could be happening in the parking lots outside of stores in Brazil.

  39. Ellis Hughes says:

    That’s very interesting how other cultures have adopted Black Friday and I didn’t expect to be looking at it from a Boasian perspective. But because of this fact, its interesting to consider how extensive capitalism’s reach over the world is. Plus, the fact Black Friday has become a modern tradition is a great example of culture and personality. By upholding this day of deals on predominately materialistic products, there is an immense capitalistic influence on the way we act within society; definitely a hot topic among Political Economists and Marxist Anthropologists. Knowing of how we perceive and act on Black Friday in the U.S., I’m curious as to how it is perceived among other cultures. How is it advertized? How is it perceived? What kind of resistance is it met with?

  40. Adriana Petersen says:

    I really enjoyed reading this essay, I had no idea that other countries adopted this holiday! I think it would be interesting to relate Black Friday to practice theory, especially since Thanksgiving is the night before. I find it interesting and ironic that society has placed one of the most selfish holidays, in my opinion, during a time of sharing and being grateful for what we already have. Society tells us, mostly through media, that we will get great deals and profit from this holiday, but how many people actually buy stuff that they need or even actually like. In reality, this holiday seems to just bring about stress of getting up unreasonably early, being in uncomfortable and pushy crowds, spending more money then planned on unnecessary things, and even the several deaths that seem to occur each year. Through practice theory one could compare these aspects of the holiday, such as how much people spend in proportion to how much they actually profit from it in terms of utility and enjoyment of their new accumulation of stuff. One could further compare the buyers success with the companies’ success. Does this holiday lead to success for both the buyers and companies, or in reality is it a one sided profit?

  41. Scout E. says:

    I thought this was an interesting essay. I would have never thought of using the poststructuralist theory to analyze this cultural phenomenon. With that being said, I totally agree with you in that corporations do use their omnipresent power to more or less control consumers on Black Friday. I also think consumer’s hyped reactions to Black Friday deals are a product of this (in my opinion, unethical) use of power. Corporations advertise Black Friday to be a big deal, so they instill major discounts and run commercials that make it seem that the consumer must participate in Black Friday. It makes the consumer feel that it is absolutely necessary to shop on this day, otherwise the consumer will not be able to buy anything on discounted price any other day of the year. Finally, I think it would be interesting to use the historic turn to look at why Black Friday came to be an unofficial holiday in the United States. I think that would make for an interesting read.

  42. Jon Mastman says:

    Very interesting essay. Although I have never actually participated in Black Friday (I am more of a cyber monday fan) I have heard of some ridiculous prices. I like the part about post structuralism and how people who know that monopolies such as Walmart are drawing money away from smaller more local businesses have their reserves to shop there. I usually find myself in that category, but who could not be lured by their discounts especially on Black Friday?

  43. Alana Spielman says:

    This essay is very well written. Connecting this idea of black friday to post structuralism works very well. It is obvious that people base most of their decisions based on their opinions and choosing to shop at Walmart is one of them. But with the power of black friday I could see the idea of power and cracks within a society is very present. Boasian is a good way to put the idea of black friday into perspective. It is obvious that other countries have adopted these customs and traits and that this custom has become a staple within there culture. This theory represents the ideas of Boasian theory in a great way.

  44. Miles Agan says:

    It’s interesting to see the globalization of black Friday in other countries, but I don’t think it is something to be proud of. Black Friday should not be considered a holiday because it is completely about consumerism. Christmas is becoming the same way, but it still holds family values. Black Friday is start to lose some appeal because people have figured out that waiting for hours in freezing weather to save twenty bucks is really not worth it. The internet is another reason why this unofficial holiday because there are deals all the time on the internet, and ones you don’t have to leave your chair to take advantage of.

  45. shelly kim says:

    this year was my first time going out to shop on black friday. not that i needed or wanted to buy something but i just wanted to see how black friday is. first thing i noticed was there was no parking spot (people parked on sideway! crazy!) and second thing i noticed was that there is not really good stuffs with great price as advertisement was yelling out loud. i didn’t buy anything and ended up just eating lunch with my sister but black friday just left me bad reputation.
    i think if you expand your explanation on post-structuralism it would make your article much better. or even choose marxist theory and have capitalism deal with that big corporation you were talking about. post structuralism is mainly about power and it’s kind of hard with black friday because i think mainly capitalism and consumerism is driving people to the mall.

  46. Michaela Quinlan says:

    The notion that Black Friday is universally spreading is pretty terrifying to say the least. A holiday surrounding consumerism is not exactly something to celebrate. But regardless, the Boasian theory behind Black Friday would also concern the historical behind the creation of the holiday and why it was created. According to Marketplace.org the term Black Friday emerged in the 1950’s and 1960’s due to hustle over Christmas shopping post-Thanksgiving day. Though, the concept of beginning holiday shopping began around the mid-1920’s when the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began. The Macy’s Parade is essentially a celebration of consumerism, which quickly came to be a defining holiday for the United States. Thus, as referred to within the Poststructuralism theory, shoppers feel obligated to partake in Consumerism. Also, the concept of the retailers holding “all of the power” within the confines of Black Friday, this is true to a certain extent. Though, from a larger scale there is only so much money stores can take off of prices before they begin to lose profit. In many stores such as Best Buy, their incredible deals for “Xbox’s 50% off!” only pertain to a fixed amount of products. In many cases there could only be 10-20 Xbox’s marked down to a fixed rate, and people who don’t arrive at the stores early enough are limited to the full price. In that case, through marketing strategies, companies need to carefully reel in shoppers into thinking their sales are unlike every other. Also, the concept of resistance also pertains to the complete resistance against Black Friday. For example, my family and I have never partaken in Black Friday because of the inhumane craze over Consumerism.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s