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RYAN BAKKEN: Mourn the death of Black Friday

Christmas lost a chunk of its fun when our youngest child learned that Santa Claus was a fraud. Now, I feel the same about Black Friday. It has lost some glamour and sizzle because it has slowly morphed into Gray Thursday. Instead of storming big...

Ryan Bakken
Ryan Bakken

Christmas lost a chunk of its fun when our youngest child learned that Santa Claus was a fraud.

Now, I feel the same about Black Friday. It has lost some glamour and sizzle because it has slowly morphed into Gray Thursday.

Instead of storming big box stores in search of bargains galore before sunrise on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the shopping frenzy at most major retailers now starts on Turkey Day.

Some of you will find this disrespectful, as it cuts into family time on the holiday. You have a good case. My beef is that the time shift has ruined the adventure, the all-night campout in the cold, sacrificing comfort for the Latest Revolutionary Gadget.

No longer are shoppers arriving at stores in the wee hours of Black Friday, waiting in long lines for up to eight hours in the dark, perhaps amid snowfall and subzero temperatures, to secure one of a limited supply of the latest desirable.

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Back then, when you secured the bargain, you felt you deserved it. There was a sense of pride in self-sacrifice to get your deal.

Now, landing a bargain requires a smaller sacrifice, perhaps eating your turkey-and-dressing for breakfast. That's because virtually every big box store in America will open at 8 p.m. on this Thanksgiving Day. Holiday be damned.

In 2011, the most popular opening was 10 p.m. Not long before that, store doors opened at 12:01 a.m. Friday, at least respecting the sanctity of the holiday.

Before then, the mad rushes into a store for a cutting-edge VCR were at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m.

Opening-hour creep likely will become opening-hour leap now that the cat is out of the shopping bag. It won't be long before Thanksgiving Day will become just a regular day for commerce for the almighty dollar.

Black Friday is so-named because it's supposedly the day of the year when merchants start making a profit. Maybe it should obtain a different meaning -- being the black day of disappointment of another tradition trampled.

Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1125; or send e-mail to rbakken@gfherald.com .

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