Black Friday: The Ultimate Irony
Once a year, the citizens of the United States meet with their close friends and loved ones to celebrate and give thanks for the blessings in their lives. That same night, in the ultimate display of irony, these same people spend hours waiting in lines, getting into fights, and stampeding through stores for the purpose of obtaining goods at a reduced price.
According to Black Friday Death Count, since 2006 news outlets have reported 7 deaths and 98 injuries caused by or related to Black Friday activities. Some of the most notable reports include two people being shot in Tallahassee over a parking space at Walmart and a shooting injuring two people and killing two others in a Toys ‘R’ Us. Despite these occurrences, stores are opening their doors earlier, pulling their employees away from their families, and potentially endangering the lives of their workers in order to make a profit. With stores such as Walmart opening their doors early Thanksgiving evening in a phenomenon now being called “Grey Thursday”, it becomes clear how there has been a significant shift in values.
When compared to data 55 years earlier, in 2013 Americans reported owning twice as many cars, eating out twice as much per person, having more debt, and increased numbers of self-storage facilities to keep items bought. However, studies show that Americans with large amounts wealth suffer from higher rates of depression than their less wealthy peers. People who value wealth and material possessions typically “experience fewer positive emotions each day.” In contrast, people who placed less value on material possessions report having higher satisfaction.
Deductive Logic and Information Measurement Theory place a high value on the idea that people are responsible for their own happiness and should not rely on external sources for satisfaction. There always be items to buy, upgrades to purchase, applications to download, and data to stream. It is important to remember these things will not provide long term happiness, but only temporary satisfaction.