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Black Friday on Thank^ving: the epitome of gluttony
I went Black Friday shopping. On
After finishing Thanksgiving dinner, my
mother and I braved the frigid cold to visit
the Walmart Supercenter
in Elkin, North Carolina
Once inside, I
wondered if I had walked
into the third circle of
Black Friday sales on
Thanksgiving is wrong.
The savage consumption,
the exploitation of
shoppers and the betrayal
of a sacred American
holiday make events
like the one I attended
In the store, employees in yellow smocks
tried to clear pathways in crowded aisles.
Confused shoppers clutching ads asked for
directions to the line for a $29 Android tablet.
Other workers guarded hordes of iPods and
"Call of Duty" discs from behind the relative
safety of the electronics counter.
People have called the day after
Thanksgiving Black Friday since the early
1960s, when shoppers crowded the streets
of downtown Philadelphia, creating a major
"Black Friday is the name which the
Philadelphia Police Department has given
to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day,"
said Earl Apfelbaum, in his shopping ad from
1966, trying to promote his store's year-round
deals. "It's not a term of endearment to them."
Little has changed. On Thanksgiving,
armed police officers patrolled the aisles
while the Walmart's parking lot filled with
As 6:00 p.m. drew near, crowds coalesced
aroimd the piles of Nerf guns and Disney
dolls. Some ^ready had their hands on items,
making sure they could get the one, or five,
that they wanted. Others hung back with
Shoppers flooded Elkin, North Carolina’s Walmart Supercenter for Black Friday deals as early as Thursday, Nov. 27, after their Thanksgiving dinners.
their empty shopping carts, biding their time.
This year, Wdmart spread out their deals
over three events, with the first one at six
PM on Thursday. It;,is all part of their master
plan to maximize revenue during this critical
shopping period. By extending the sales,
executives hope they can get deal hunters to
come back over and over again.
"It used to be called Black Friday, then
it became Thursday (and) now it's a week
long," said Duncan MacNaughton, Walmart
U.S. Chief Merchant in Fortune. "Maybe we
should just call it November."
A voice crackled over the intercom,
opening with a plea for shoppers to listen to
the store associates and police officers. This
came as a surprise to no one in the store. Last
year, a video of a fight at this store went viral
and wound up on the national news.
Then the magic words came: "You may now
make your selections for the six o'clock sale."
The store exploded into a flurry of activity.
People grabbed the items they had guarded so
carefully, and threw them into their carts.
With air guns and art supplies, shoppers
pushed their way towards checkout lines that
"extended well into the apparel department.
Aisles looked like a Los Angeles freeway on a
I found myself walled in by shopping carts
in the women's imderwear section. People
pushing carts had squeezed themselves so
close together that no one could get through.
Who would want to go through that?
The consulting firm Accenture found in
its annual Holiday Shopping Survey that 66
percent of respondents would likely shop
on Black Friday this year. That is up from
44 percent in 2011, despite overwhelmingly
negative media coverage of the day.
Are the deals so good that Americans will
ignore the pleas of the cool-headed?
'The savings offered by doorbuster deals —
the ones people literally line up for weeks for
— couldn't possibly make up for the time and
discomfort involved," writes Shane Roberts
for the blog Kinja Deals, which has posted
multiple guides to saving on Black Friday this
year. "And in any case, those people could be
getting the same deals online."
After going through this, I am inclined to
agree with Roberts. I am not ready to give up
my Thanksgiving holiday for a $648 flat screen
television or a $10 pair of jeans.
So what did I buy at Walmart if it was the
third circle of hell?
I could only bring myself to get the
essentials: laundry detergent, window cleaner
and sour cream.
Only drastic action can solve
Serendipity safety concerns
Guilford College should not hold Serendipity
But it will anyways.
Since last year's Serendipity, students and
administrators have tried
to find the solutions to the
annual problems associated
with the weekend: drinking,
drunk driving, drug abuse,
assault and everything in
We know that Guilford
deals with these same
issues every year. Students
participating in dangerous
activities put both themselves
and bystanders at risk.
Guilford faces the prospect
of a liability lawsuit if any
activity results in a tragedy.
"The event is great to build community,
and it would be awesome to continue (it), but
I still understand the concerns coming from
administrators," said Jos6 Oliva, sophomore
and president of Community Senate.
Unless major changes happen in Serendipity
this year, the College will cancel all future
"For over four decades this has been our
tradition, and it is in serious jeopardy," said co
founder of Serendipity Esther Hall '74. "It rests
on the shoulders of Guilford students; not just
the planners of the events, but every student."
Guilford needs that complete culture shift to
happen within the next six months. A change of
that magnitude would probably take four years
of consecutive changes to allow for student
The College does not have the time to make
a comfortable transition from the current
Serendipity culture to a safer one. Even now,
the current plan to solve the Serendipity issues
has minimal structure and planning, making
it unlikely to work under a crushing time
constraint. No one knows how effectively the
measures will increase safety or how well the
message will spread across the Serendipity
Delaying Serendipity for one year would
make it easier for the current culture of
Serendipity to change into a safer one. It
would minimize safety and liability concerns
without the college immediately threatening to
eliminate Serendipity indefinitely.
But the College already missed this
opportunity. Guilford booked the bands for
the concerts. Guilford committed to having
Serendipity this year well before any concrete
plan existed to make the weekend safer.
Of course, an overwhelming number of
students would scream at a decision to cancel
Serendipity for a whole year. Even more,
however, would rally against a decision to end
Serendipity forever. •
"We're Guilford, and we wanted to be very
upfront with the students about the issues
and about the problems and not just pull the
rug out from under them," said Interim Vice
President for Student Affairs and Dean of
Students, Jen Agor. "We wanted to give them
the opportunity to change. (We) hope that it's
effective and we don't end up regretting it."
Right now, Guilford has a bundle of scattered
ideas to save Serendipity. If everything goes
according to the current plan, we can prepare
for Serendipity and hope that a grab bag of
ideas to promote wellness can create a total
culture shift in half a year.
"This will probably take four to six years
to result in the change that we all want to
see," said President of Guilford College Jane
The College should not make sufficient
student safety a result for 2019. The culture
of Serendipity can change, but it will take
enormous steps that the College has not made
Guilford should not continue to put student
safety at risk for the sake of a school tradition.
If Guilford fails to make the weekend a
safe environment, the College should bear
responsibility for whatever happens.
The culture of, "I wouldn't usually do
something that dangerous, but it's Serendipity,"
needs to change.
The College wouldn't usually continue
events associated with dangerous activity.
But it's Serendipity.
NC must amend hate crime laws
On Nov. 9, Stephen White '94 left Chemistry, a gay nightclub in Greensboro,
with Garry Gupton. The two then checked into the Battleground Inn.
When Stephen was found, he was unconscious and suffering from smoke
inhalation and bums covering over half of his body, according to the News
The police have reported that Stephen was beaten with a telephone,
television and other pieces of furniture and set on fire. Doctors, in an
attempt to address his wounds, had to partially amputate both of his arms,
but were unable to save him.
He died from his injuries on Nov. 15, and Gupton is now facing a first-
degree murder charge.
While Gupton may face additional charges with regards to the fire, he is
not being charged with a hate crime. Officials claim that there is no current
indication that White's murder was a hate crime
The crime could potentially fall under federal hate crime laws, however
North Carolina's hate crime laws exclude sexual orientation from protection
According to Partners Against Hate, North Carolina's law "prohibits
repeated harassement (sic), violence, physical harm to persons or property,
or direct or indirect threats of physical harm to persons or property,
motivated by race, religion, ethnicity, or gender."
LGBT MAP reports that North Carolina is one of 20 states where hate
crime laws do not address either sexual orientation or gender identity
This neglect on the part of North Carolina's legal system is inexcusable.
It disregards the human rights of people of varying sexual orientations
and refuses to acknowledge that violence against the queer commuruty is
The FBI reported that, in 2012 alone, 19.6 percent or over 1,000 of the 5,790
single-bias hate crimes in the United States resulted from sexual orientation
bias, excluding um-eported crimes.
In the eyes of North Carolina state law, violence against people of color,
against people of faith, and against women caimot be not tolerated, yet the
state ignores violence against people who are queer.
In recognition of all of victims of hate crimes motivated by sexual
orientation. North Carolina must change their hate crime laws. We cannot
tolerate homophobic violence, and we cannot tolerate the exclusion of the
queer community from our laws.
We will remember Stephen White, graduate of Guilford College's Class
of 1994 and veteran of the United States Army 82nd Airborne Division at
Fort Bragg and the Joint Security Force in Korea.
We hold Stephen's friends and family in the light and invite you to do
Refleqing Guilford College's core Quaker values, the topics and content of Staff
Editorials are chosen through consensus of all 13 editors and one faculty adviser of The
Guilfordian’s Editorial Board.