Michelle Ludwin, ludwinma@muohio.edu

It comes once a year just like Christmas, New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July: Black Friday. Black Friday is a staple event every year where people say goodbye to Thanksgiving and hello to Christmas shopping.

Traditionally on Black Friday, stores would open their doors around 6 a.m., having extra early bird deals to those willing to get out of bed and partake in the madness. As years have gone by, opening times of stores have been pushed back to as early as 3 a.m. I have heard of people not going to sleep the night before and waiting in line at stores such as Target to get their fingers on items that normally would be sold out by noon. This year, some stores decided that opening at 3 a.m. was not good enough and that doors needed to open on Thanksgiving Day. Instead of letting workers enjoy an evening with friends and family, these employees had to be in early to open at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving just to give shoppers this extra edge. This “holiday” has even turned some shoppers violent against one another.

This past weekend, a woman pepper sprayed other customers in order to claim an Xbox, customers in another city were shot in parking lots and in multiple locations, people were arrested for fighting over products in a store. While stores claim the reasoning behind opening early was 1) to accommodate customers on a budget and 2) to please those who would rather stay up later than wake up early, is all this really worth such a reaction among consumers? Fighting over limited edition coupon books, game systems and discounted waffle makers have caused the public to go crazy. It’s one thing to wake up at 5 a.m. with some friends and experience the “true” Black Friday experience, but it is another to get pepper sprayed because the lady behind you is fighting for something you might not be looking for.

I have never woken up at 4 or 5 a.m. to go shopping, and after this year, I might never do it. Usually, the night before, I map out which stores I want to hit and what I am looking for so I can get in, find the item and get out. It might seem as simple as that, but it never is.

You always have those people who move at a mile a second and want to touch everything they pass. They are hard to maneuver around and never realize they are holding up other customers. These people are most likely not going to buy anything, they just decided at the spur of the moment to go to Macy’s and see “what Black Friday is really all about.”

Then, there is the shopper who is fighting with the poor cashier who is running on zero sleep and wants to save an extra two bucks on a new pillow. Face it, that person did not read the fine print on the coupon and they are going to be returning that pillow in a couple of weeks anyway. They hold up the line and the cashier usually does not want to put up a fight with anyone on this day. It’s a lose-lose situation.

But finally, my favorite type of people who come to shop work in a drama-free zone. These are the ladies dressed in matching sweaters with light up necklaces, ready with a game plan — definitely not messing around. These ladies know what they are looking for, know where the best deals are and they know how to have fun while shopping. There is no anxiety, no screaming and just pure shopping. People like this are what Black Friday used to be and what is rare to find today in the shopping malls. If more people acted this way, Black Friday might have a chance of existing in a peaceful way again.

Before we know it, Black Friday will begin before Thanksgiving even begins, security guards will be on the fritz taming the crazy shoppers and no one will enjoy the experience again. Everyone may not share the same sentiment, but I would really like to walk into a store next year, find that half off pair of boots I have been waiting for and walk away uninjured.