There are many things I enjoy about the Thanksgiving Holiday. I love the food, the football, and spending time with family. However, one thing I find incredibly annoying about Turkey Day is the constant complaining about Black Friday and “corporate greed.” One look at my Facebook newsfeed last week showed a list of people complaining about the shopping madness and greed parade that is Black Friday. If you watched the news at all last weekend, you saw that the labor unions planned Black Friday strikes at places like Walmart and LAX Airport. It seems like Black Friday is hated by everyone, but how come it still exists? If it was solely corporate greed that fueled Black Friday’s existence, why do participant consumers spend their Thanksgiving Evening in line waiting for the best deals they find all year?

Progressives love to shame the corporations for this shopping holiday, but what really makes Black Friday exist is the greed of the consumer. If the consuming class of America felt that amazing deals offered on the day after Thanksgiving were immoral, they would subsequently stop participating. This would send a message to the retailers that undermining the values of Thanksgiving is not morally or financially viable. However, the “greed” of the consumer lingers on, which means Black Friday is here to stay. I say that is a good thing! There is nothing wrong with this definition of the word “greed.” The desire to “own stuff” fuels our economy; since people want stuff, this creates the demand to produce stuff; the demand to produce stuff creates the demand to work. Work creates the privilege of spending money, which starts the circle over again with the desire of “owning stuff.” Liberals will continue to whine about corporate profits, but when you ask people who struck a great deal on a 50’’ LCD TV, I am sure they will tell you they are just as satisfied as the corporation who sold it to them.

As someone who works in retail as a second job, I understand that leaving the dinner table Thanksgiving Night to go to work is no fun. But work is work! Last Thanksgiving I clocked in at 9:30pm and worked with a 100+ degree fever. This year I worked over 12 hours on Black Friday at two separate jobs. I’ll admit that this wasn’t my ideal holiday weekend, but after seeing the hefty paycheck that it produced, I have no regrets. In fact, it will only make me work harder! Black Friday offers the opportunity to millions of Americans to purchase goods at low prices. Consumers find this to be a great thrill, as do the Corporations. You can say both are greedy, but what’s wrong with that? The consumers get what they want, the retailers get what they want, and the employees get paid, sometimes overtime. If the consumers don’t like it, they don’t have to participate. If the workers want to stay home for the weekend, they can quit. If both the consumers and employees felt that Black Friday was not worth it, the corporations would get the message and seize its Black Friday operations. So far, shoppers and workers have not done so, which tells me they find Black Friday acceptable. This cornucopia of economic activity is a great thing, why ruin it for everyone?

The desire to create a Utopian society where greed doesn’t exist is absurd. Greed is in our DNA, and cannot be usurped. To outlaw Black Friday deals would be incredibly counter-intuitive, as are most legal initiatives such as gun control. Why ban such an economically productive idea such as Black Friday? If both consumers and producers are happy, what is the problem? If you would like to live in a place where the want for material goods does not exist, than I suggest you leave this planet, because such a place is impossible to find. Unbridled capitalism is the system that makes the best use of the inherent human characteristic of greed. Greed will not be ousted, so anyway we can take greed and make it mutually beneficial is the best way. You might not like Black Friday, but the millions of people who participate in it every year sure do, which tells me that it is good thing for the common man.

Colin Snell | Burlington College | @SnellColin