Black Friday may seem like harmless fun and a great opportunity to score some deals while boosting retailer profit margins. But the reality is, this pseudo-holiday that's an ode to consumerism actually isn't as harmless as it seems.
In fact, these four statistics exposing the dark side of Black Friday are likely to make you think twice about participating in the madness -- and perhaps may even prompt you to hate Black Friday and wish this annual event didn't occur.
1. Black Friday has a body count
According to the website Black Friday Death Count, 12 people have died in Black Friday related events since 2006. Deaths have occurred when people were shot in parking lots, malls, and even in a Toys R Us. Fatalities also happened due to stampedes and car crashes.
No bargain is worth giving up your life for, or taking the lives of others. Still, in the mayhem of Black Friday, the promise of a great deal can be so tempting that violent outbreaks or mob events occur.
2. More than 100 injuries have occurred on Black Friday
Black Friday Death Count also tracks injuries as well as fatalities. And since 2006, there have been 116 recorded. These injuries also occurred due to shootings, stampedes, and similar disasters driven by consumers gone mad in their quest for a bargain.
Running over fellow shoppers to try to grab limited-stock items from shelves is definitely not the way to spend any part of the festive season.
3. Close to half of all retail workers have to give up their holidays
Black Friday has spilled over into Thanksgiving Day, with stores opening on Thursday to try to capture consumer dollars before their competitors do.
The result is that a recent CareerBuilder survey found 47% of retail workers have to work on Thanksgiving -- even as 91% of all workers indicate they'd rather be with their families than with their co-workers that day.
Many retail workers have little control over their schedules and feel forced to work in order to keep their jobs, even if they don't want to. Are Black Friday deals really worth making millions of people get up from the dinner table before their meal is done?
4. Black Friday spending is in the billions
According to research from Adobe Analytics, U.S. consumers spent an estimated $6.2 billion on Black Friday 2018. This ridiculous sum of money doesn't even include Cyber Monday spending, and spending on online purchases was even higher at an estimated $7.9 billion.
Spending in the billions may be good for retailers, but it's not great for Americans -- many of whom have too much debt, emergency funds that are too small, and too little saved for retirement.
The average American incurred over $1,200 in holiday debt in 2018, and Black Friday spending likely was responsible for a big chunk of it. Borrowing and committing to paying interest on holiday purchases isn't good for anyone's long-term financial health and can make accomplishing other goals difficult. Holidays that encourage this are the last thing anyone needs.
You don't have to take part in the holiday madness
While Black Friday may seem like an American tradition, it's a troubling one. You don't have to contribute to the consumerism that has turned the holiday season into a time of shopping rather than one of enjoying being with your loved ones and feeling thankful.
Instead of hunting for deals after your Thanksgiving meal, why not spend a little extra time with loved ones this year. That gift of time with the people you care about is far more valuable than any bargain you can find at the mall.