I heard the ads on the radio. The department stores advertised their opening at 5AM or even 4AM today. And then there are the yearly additions to YouTube about the shenanigans that ensue as a result of Black Friday. Personal injuries and the subsequent visits to the hospital and lawsuits against the stores for not regulating any sort of crowd control.
I wonder, who are these people who line up at the wee hours in the morning? All I know is I’m still digesting my turkey leg by way of my tryptophan coma to even begin to worry about Christmas presents. And I know I don’t make the most money in the world, but I think I would rather pay a premium than throw elbows with people that motivated. That’s one battle I’d gladly bow out from.
So this is a bit of a continuation from my post on gratitude and simply having enough. I think we all have enough and though I have my own weaknesses–for example, all things Apple, shoes and the occasional cute outfit here and there–there’s a lot to be said about conscientiously minimizing that consumerist rabidity we “buy” into as we become brainwashed with sales speak. It’s quite un-capitalist of me, I know. But if we aren’t happy until we get that 73.25″ plasma with the perfect surround-sound setup then will we really ever be happy? Won’t we just want the next thing and the next?
The problem with a change of heart is that sometimes, it becomes completely inconvenient to live blissfully (ignorantly) in a capitalist society like Los Angeles. We can’t turn that blind eye to people in need for which so little would provide them with what they necessarily need–not just think they need.
There are so many nice, high-end luxury cars here–something like a simple visit to the L.A. Auto Show (you know it’s a convenient plug) creates the want and the need to satiate that. We spend so much time in our cars that we rationalize pouring huge payments into the inarguably fastest depreciating asset to our name–and I’m not even talking about fuel efficiency. Los Angeles materialistic? Puh-lease.
And if we say that Black Friday is about buying gifts for other people–who are we kidding? If I wouldn’t spend that much on myself–or throw elbows at others in order to obtain my item–then I’m not gonna lie. There’s no way in hell I’d spend that much on other people because if I don’t believe it will bring me happiness (and will merely continue that chain effect of creating more and more needs), why should I pretend as if my extravagant gifts to my loved ones will do them any justice?
I don’t advocate that all shopping on Black Friday is bad; that would be too easy. It’s more than the starving child in Africa. It’s the mindset that these stores promote. While I understand that they have numbers they got to make and this day is their biggest day of the year, the degree to which people are degraded so that they fight, kick and turn absolutely nasty towards each other to advance their material needs renders me speechless. Seriously, are you zombies? Where is your happiness? Heightened awareness on our choices and realizing that every single one speaks life or death and impacts the world around us can only be a good thing.
So instead of Black Friday, for me today is Buy Nothing Day. Besides, deals come around all year round.