Commercialism, capitalism and holidays


Nina Bartlomiejczyk — Copy Editor

For most, the holidays are a time to take a break and celebrate with family, friends and loved ones, along with giving gifts, giving thanks, eating food and being merry.

However, with gifting and feasting inextricably comes the purchase of commodities at an incredibly high rate to meet the holiday demands. Companies take advantage of this and turn the holidays into a consumerist frenzy. For example, Black Friday technically could be not unlike any other day of the calendar year, aside from the fact that it is the day after Thanksgiving and some people may take the day off.

However, rampant consumerism forced upon the American public by big businesses and companies putting on sales to increase their profits on Black Friday have turned it into a day of absolute mayhem.

People take their bargains very seriously, and Black Friday can turn a soccer mom or a cookiebaking grandma into sheer forces of terror when it comes to buying a Barbie Dream House on sale for their child or grandchild. It is not unheard of for people to die on Black Friday, given the sheer of people trying to force their way into stores and snag the best and cheapest items before anyone else, leading to fights and trampling.

While it may be the best step for a business to advertise their commodities at a sale price on Black Friday, the day most people begin Christmas shopping, it definitely proves detrimental to people merely attempting to buy something they might need to go to the store for on that day without being fought for it. Not to mention, the strain that the holidays put on retail employees is absolutely debilitating.

Not only is it detrimental in this way, but it also speaks volumes about how we treat each other as people. It would never be acceptable on any other day of the year to push, shove and trample others to get to a product on sale,
so it begs the question as to why people can put their moral values aside to participate in Black Friday.

As for the morals of big businesses, the perpetual observance of Black Friday sales seems to only prove that the only thing important to these tycoons is raking in the profits.
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On the same note, big businesses encouraging us to have a dependency on buying from them, along with expanding their businesses more broadly so we have no choice but to buy from solely that company, funnels even more money into the pockets of the filthy rich and away from small business owners who really need it.

America exists in a onsumerist culture due to its capitalist economic structure with no holds bound to big business owners and CEOs. The holidays are not the cause of consumerism, but a tool for these people to utilize to make the rest of us fork over more of our money to add to their stash.

Further, people’s moral-stripped actions during these times are mostly symptomatic of just how far we have fallen to the whims of the one percent. While the holidays will always remain a time of gift giving and feasting, people could do their part to detract from this culture of consumerism by carefully choosing who they buy from — this may sound true, but while it could help small business owners, it has its downfall.

They have to buy at least some of their products from big businesses, who may exploit workers at some level, and who may encourage destructive practices like Black Friday sales which perpetuate our consumerist culture under capitalism.

There is no ethical consumption under capitalism, and the only answer is to completely rework the system into one in which people have what they need and do not want in a way in which entitles them to trample others for material possessions, and into one in which big businesses do not hold the American people in the palms of their hands.

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