U professor pushes against Black Friday

The International Council of Shopping Centers projects retail sales this holiday season will be modest due to the struggling economy . But a University of Minnesota professor still thinks Americans focus too much on material products. Family social science professor William Doherty is trying to put a halt to the âÄúconsumerismâÄù of Black Friday by putting together an event to protest consumerism in the United States. The event will be at Unity Church âÄì Unitarian in St. Paul on Friday, though the service will be nondenominational. Doherty said the beginning of the holiday shopping season can create stress and havoc among families when they worry about shopping. âÄúThis is a season in which a lot of people end up feeling depleted by the time they get to the end of the holiday season,âÄù he said. âÄúA lot of it is because of frantic consumerism.âÄù Doherty also said children can learn the wrong lessons from the holiday season because they learn to receive gifts instead of give them. âÄúIt contributes to the consumer culture of childhood,âÄù he said. âÄúChristmas, to a lot of kids, is about their lists.âÄù Ali Reiter , a sophomore, said she goes shopping on Black Friday every year with her family. âÄúUsually my family comes here from Michigan,âÄù she said. âÄúThey like going to the Mall of America to do the Christmas shopping. ItâÄôs sort of like a tradition.âÄù Doherty, however, said he thinks more often than not the holiday shopping season can do more harm than good to families. âÄúItâÄôs the season that peopleâÄôs deepest values are about family, spirituality and community,âÄù he said, âÄúwhich they end up deemphasizing in the face of consumerism.âÄù Physiology junior Ann Fontana said she goes shopping on Black Friday every year because thatâÄôs when some of the best deals are. âÄúFor me, itâÄôs more of a practical thing. EverythingâÄôs on sale,âÄù she said. Fontana said she also likes shopping on Black Friday because of the atmosphere. âÄúWhen else can you be in a store at four in the morning with other crazy people?âÄù she said. Despite the economy, retail stores like Target are still waking up a couple hours earlier for a rush of shoppers. âÄúBlack Friday is an important day for us,âÄù Target spokeswoman Hadley Barrows said . âÄúWeâÄôre preparing by making sure that weâÄôre going to be well-stocked and that the stores are ready for the holiday season.âÄù