Thanksgiving has come and gone, and the holiday season is fast approaching.
Black Friday is still a hot topic, as the stores opened and sales started earlier this year than ever. Keene State College students spoke out on the precursor to the holidays.
Jenna Barton, KSC sophomore and self-proclaimed sale-enthusiast, said that she ventures out on Black Friday for the thrill of shopping at such an irregular time.
“There are some pretty awesome deals, but I’ve noticed that the deals are the same, if not better, a couple days before Christmas,” Barton said.
For Barton, going out on Black Friday is exciting, nonetheless.
“This year my mom and I started shopping at 6 a.m.,” Barton said, “We went to the Westfarms Mall in Connecticut, and shopped for about four or five hours. The best part is saving hundreds of dollars and be able to give gifts to my loved ones.”
KSC sophomore Katie Van Veen got to experience both shopping and working in retail on Black Friday.
Van Veen, who works at Famous Footwear in the Merrimack Outlets, said she worked from 1 a.m. to 8 a.m. on Black Friday, and promptly began shopping after work.
“After Thanksgiving dinner, I just didn’t go to sleep,” Van Veen explained, “It was good because they supplied food and stuff when I got to work.”
Working such an unusual shift in retail was interesting, Van Veen said.
She added, “I don’t think it was too busy. It felt like a normal Saturday crowd, just at dawn on Friday. I got to see a lot of weird people. At around 3 a.m., a whole bunch of drunk people started stumbling in.”
After work, Van Veen started shopping. “I figured since I was already at the mall, I might as well [shop]. It wasn’t that crazy. The deals weren’t that great, either,” Van Veen explained.
A “guilty pleasure” is how KSC sophomore Amy Buonpane chose to describe the shopping holiday.
Buonpane said, “I don’t like that it has been starting earlier and earlier because I don’t think anyone should have to work on Thanksgiving, but I do really enjoy the hype of it. Who doesn’t love super inexpensive shopping?”
Buonpane said that she believes that Black Friday shopping isn’t for everyone, but people who enjoy it should be able to participate – as long as things don’t get too out of hand.
She added, “I like to go out later in the day with my mom, usually after dinner. People aren’t usually out at that time but there are still great deals.”
KSC senior Lukas Irizarry described the idea of beginning Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving as “charming.”
Irizarry said, “Thanksgiving and Christmas go hand-in-hand with the virtues of thankfulness, gratitude and charity. It’s natural to want to give back to your loved ones after meditating on your gratitude for them and with them for a whole day.”
Of turning Black Friday into a sale-ridden holiday, Irizarry added, “The notion, however, has been sullied in recent years.”
Irizarry said he believes that “materialism has a hold on the holidays,” and it is that reason that he doesn’t typically shop on Black Friday anymore.
That being said, Irizarry has mostly pleasant memories of Black Friday shopping as a child, but it wasn’t the materialism that he remembers fondly.
“The best part about Black Friday shopping was never the shopping,” Irizarry explained, “It was the people. Being stuffed in a car with five family members who have six different objectives and seven different opinions while speaking two different languages will bring you very close together. At the time it was completely exhausting and frustrating. But it created an excellent memory that will be with me until I die.”
As for the holiday season, Irizarry said he is excited. “Shopping for and with loved ones can be an endearing way to express gratitude and love. In the end, the holidays should be about reflection and peace while giving back some of that which we have been given,” he said.
Jill Giambruno can be contacted at email@example.com