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Talk It Out: Black Friday

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Illustration by: Israel Gonzalez | Staff Illustrator

Black friday blues: stop, drop, think before you shop
By Sterling Wilmer

The Black Friday Blues is the unfulfilling exhaustion that occurs in the aftermath of a long day of spending money that people don’t have, for things they don’t need

The infamous Black Friday shopping frenzy is fast approaching. This means everyone is putting on their warrior face paint and grabbing their coupon books because things are about to get ugly. Welcome to the jungle of excess.

College students and people in general do not really need the merchandise that we go to war over every Black Friday. With expensive and essential costs relegated toward paying for books, tuition and supplies, retail therapy is not the way to go for an average starving college student.

Yet, many students continue to plan to hit up their favorite spots with friends and family. They mentally prepare to stand out in the cold for that one good deal at Target, or stay up extra late to get a jump-start on Cyber Monday.

All of these preparations and planning go toward inessential items that are still way too expensive.

Almost every item has a markup price. Some items, like most grocery foods and essential health and wellness products, carry a 13-15 percent markup price rather than our luxury items of course.

In stores, luxury items, especially clothing, carry blasphemously heavy markups that are sometimes even more expensive than the true worth of the item.

Coach, Michael Kors and other designer fashions popular with college students will have a 55-62 percent markup on their original items.

Purchasing a new pair of Kanye West’s Yeezy shoes is not worth opting out of buying a meal plan next semester. The heavy markup on these sneakers would have you chewing off your left arm to purchase them anyway. A hefty medical expense is not what college students need in addition to the sneaker dowry.

After you come home with loads of bags and painfully long receipts, the fact of the matter is most of the items going on sale for Black Friday were frivolous impulsive buys.

The thrill of getting something for lower than it originally was priced is an obsession that many Americans battle with. The fact that people are adding to an already stressed-out college life is a disaster waiting happen.

Retail therapy being an actual coping mechanism for stress may not be the best way to deal with the strain of existing financial difficulties. The feeling after a long day of Black Friday shopping is just as bad as coming down from a good cocaine fix, often in disbelief that you let yourself to indulge gluttonously in the spending activities.

The overly inflated price is not worth all the work, energy and funds that are spent. Manic shopping is only trying to fill a never-ending void caused by the stress that is paired with college life.

Don’t get the Black Friday Blues. Stop what you are doing, drop the merchandise clasped between your sweaty, overly excited hands, and think before you shop.

Memoirs of a retail associate Black Friday
By Autumn Sprabary

Leave it to America to take the one day designated to be thankful for what we have and combine it with a selfish, hateful and disturbing event like Black Friday.

It is bad enough that I have to work on my favorite holiday of the year, but to be forced to wear a holiday uniform consisting of denim-on-denim takes my bitterness to the next level. Not only will I be missing the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special, but I will also be looking like Justin Timberlake at the Video Music Awards circa 2001.

For those who work in the outlet mall, Black Friday preparation begins in October. Every year we begin planning earlier and every year we learn that planning makes no difference, because people are crazy.

At the outlets, where all items are on clearance, every day is Black Friday. So for the woman who is not satisfied with getting a watch for 50 percent off right now—because getting something for half price is clearly not a good enough deal—it will be the exact same price on Black Friday. The only difference will be the line she has to wait through to get the watch and her heightened sense of anxiety and frustration that she did not get a better deal on it.

Which brings me to the absolute worst part of Black Friday, and retail in general: haggling.

I am not sure how this idea was even conceived, but the outlet mall is not a flea market. Although some of the people you may see at the outlets could give you a different idea, it is not a garage sale.

The products we sell are not used or damaged—they are just older models, which is why they are a fraction of the original price. So do not try to haggle me, man who thinks he should get an extra 10 percent off because he is Canadian. Also, why would being Canadian earn you a discount? If anything, I should mark it back up to full price.

Another Black Friday choice my exhausted brain just cannot fathom is bringing your young children to shop at such a violent event.

If your child is sitting in the middle of the floor screaming, do not ignore them as you continue to look through the handbags. Also, if you plan to bring your kid to an occasion like Black Friday, be sure to know proper discipline.

It is my job to sell watches and leather goods. It is not my job to sweep up the stomped-on Cheerios kids throw on the floor in a tantrum.

The single most unforgiving, nerve-wracking, hair-pulling thing about Black Friday is that those who work it have to be there only because people will show up to shop. I have to miss a major holiday with my own family in order to cater to the demands of the people who feel like a discounted bag or a low-priced television is more important than spending time with their family.

If you do not have to work this Thanksgiving and you decide to go shopping— on Black Friday or otherwise— please be kind to the sales people. They are missing out on the fun things that make the holidays so great, because they have to pay rent. So, give the folks in retail a break and a piece of pie or a turkey leg—we gladly accept those as well.