Pro/Con: Black Friday


As early as October, many people have probably shaken their fist at their device, saying: “If I see one more advertisement for Black Friday…” But with a holiday shopping list clenched in the other fist, it would be wise to heed such sales, for the deals on your screen — namely Black Friday —stand to benefit not only the retailer, but also you, the consumer.

The holiday deals that retailers offer amount to approximately 19% of total retail sales for that year in the U.S., according to the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail association. These big retail companies reap large profits each year, and events like Black Friday are important to these companies as they head into the next year.

However, it is not only large corporations who benefit from such deals.

According to Forbes, Black Friday is “a great time for small businesses to sell stock — either clocking up early festive sales or shifting stock to make way for more Christmas products.” This proves that holiday deals, which some people associate with big corporations taking advantage of customers for profit, are also helpful for small businesses.

Small Business Saturday — the Black Friday equivalent for smaller companies — is also starting to gain traction. According to a survey conducted by Bankrate, a financial advising website, “61% of holiday shoppers are likely to choose Small Business Saturday for holiday shopping. That number is slightly higher than the number of shoppers likely to shop on Black Friday (56 %).”

This year, Black Friday shoppers spent $9.8 billion, according to an Adobe Analytics report. Lower or higher Black Friday sales can indicate “the overall health of the retail industry,” according to Investopedia, a financial media and review website. Additionally, Investopedia said that “some economists consider Black Friday to be a good gauge of consumer confidence and consumers’ likely discretionary spending going forward.”

With this perspective in mind, Black Friday, beyond the fun and frenzy it brings, can be used as a legitimate measure of the U.S. economy.

Consumers also benefit from holiday deals. According to Adobe Analytics data, “discounts this holiday season … hit record highs of 35% off the list price” between Thanksgiving day and Cyber Monday.

Further, for families with young children, taking advantage of deals is crucial to stay ahead of the costs of fast-growing kids.

Despite the clear benefits of holiday deals, some criticize Black Friday for the perceived danger of chaotic shoppers — the stereotypical image of hordes clambering for the perfect deal. This is a valid concern: according to the Black Friday Death Count, between 2006 and 2021, there were 17 deaths and 125 injuries. However, an Adobe study reveals that 51.2% of Black Friday shoppers will opt for online shopping, which will drastically reduce crowds, especially as cybershopping becomes more efficient for many.

Holiday deals, a viable indicator of economic health, are an important aspect of the holiday season for both retailers and consumers; therefore, holiday deals must remain a part of the holiday season.


With the holidays right around the corner, people are caught in the rush of purchasing the next shiny item. But once you slow down and pay attention to what you are buying, you will find the flawed nature of these holiday deals.

Despite the financial allure and added convenience of online sales, the Black Friday shopping frenzy is an outdated, bitter reflection of consumerism that directly opposes the moral values that the holiday season represents.

Originating in the 1960s, Black Friday is now a well-oiled machine, inspiring overconsumption, unsustainable practices, physical harm and inauthentic deals.

Between 2006 and 2021 there were 17 deaths and 125 injuries on this day, according to Black Friday Death Count, an online record of all incidents. These incidents involve shootings, stabbings, stampedes, car accidents and more atrocities. Inside stores, there is a 69% chance of getting into an incident, and just when you think you have made it through the mayhem, you have an 11% chance of getting into an incident outside the store. These acts of violence not only illustrate the chokehold corporations have on us, but also society’s tendency to abandon all morals in search of the next shiny product.

“One in every three shoppers return what they buy on Black Friday, with approximately 30 million unwanted goods being sent back to stores,” according to Motesque, an online website specializing in data reports.

This brutal display of overconsumption begs the question of where these returned items are really going.

According to a 2019 study from a Population Matters report, up to 80% of Black Friday purchases are thrown away and deliveries from all these sales are estimated to release more than 429,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

As Black Friday prices encourage the rise of impulse-buys, well-meaning consumers are often left in financial debt while large corporations walk away with their pockets lined. This ensures the longevity of the fast fashion business model: a toxic system based on short-term supply and fleeting trends.

Black Friday is built on a system of deals, most of which are inauthentic and effectively unravel the very fabric of the event.

According to The Guardian, just one in 20 Black Friday deals are genuine. A prime example: a consumer group price-checked 83 items on sale in the U.S. for Black Friday last year and found nearly all of them were cheaper at earlier times in the year.

Companies even tend to mark up their prices in the month before Black Friday just to flaunt misrepresented “deals.” To this regard, Black Friday puts stress on small businesses who simply aren’t equipped to compete with larger corporations that can afford to offer bigger so-called “discounts.”

While Black Friday poses statistical benefits to the economy, the reality is these benefits are inaccessible to the majority. Instead, the holiday further fuels the monsters that are these large corporations, while simultaneously dismantling our environment. So, next year, when you look at your holiday shopping list, don’t get blinded by an alluring discount, as it’s merely a marker of our society’s consumerism.

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