Thursday, December 13, 2012

Black Friday Craziness

Black Friday Craziness
I'm sure we all sit here gasping when we read various headlines.  After all, we see this black Friday craziness and wonder if we reside on the same planet with these shoppers that purport to be human.  I've seen accounts this year of someone claiming they will stab another if they try to shove their way in.  I've seen accounts of a lady that fought with police to get in line until they held her down, handcuffed her and hauled her to jail.  There are the people who spend days of their life waiting in line, trying to get a deal that saves them a couple hundred bucks.  Last but not least, there are the ones that spend day and night shopping and buying everything they can get their hands on.

Of course, we have the other side of the issue where some people boycott businesses on Black Friday and urge everyone else to do the same.  There are ones who could care less what is going on in the store and try to stay away from all the Black Friday Craziness.  Yet, you also will find people who have waited all year to buy some items that are now deeply discounted and make them more affordable.  I'm sure I am leaving out many other people as well.

I can see all sides of this and I understand the desire to go sit in lines if you can purchase something at a price you can afford.  I did this one year at Office Depot to buy my laptop.  I desperately needed a new laptop, but could not pay a lot for it.  So I went around midnight and sat outside the door, being second in line, until they opened at 5 am.  Would I do it again - I don't know.  However, I had fun playing monopoly with people who were waiting in line and getting to know total strangers that night.  It was something unusual and fun to do at least once in my life.  Of course, I welcomed sleep the next day.

The thing I dislike seeing is the craziness of Black Friday where people become lower than human and act as if the only thing that matters in life is what they are buying.  It is like greed becomes the central focus and the need to respect others is not there.  I find that to be a sad testament to the human experience.

I also know that many of these "must have" things that people buy at Christmas end up in the thrift stores a few months later.  Because I visit thrift stores frequently, I see these expensive items being discarded as if they are no longer wanted.  What was once the hottest buy on Black Friday, has now become something just above trash in their mind.

We are a consumer driven society and while it is nice to have some toys and things we enjoy, I think we over do it.  We tend to focus more on buying our way into the hearts of those that we care about, rather than finding the balance we need in life.

I still remember the time at Christmas when I was going to college and I barely was making it on my own.  I had no backup funding and so I was already working nearly 40 hours a week and taking a full load of classes.  Month by month, I managed to save up enough where I could buy a limited amount of gifts for my family.  I didn't have much to spend, but I was wise and tried to buy items that I knew each person could use.  Of course, after they opened their gifts, I heard statements such as "here we got him this nice gift and this is all he got for us".  It broke my heart and crushed my soul, for it took all I could spend just to give them what I did.  I could have easily used that money to feed myself for a month, but I was trying to give something to them from my heart.

People claim that Jesus is the reason for the season, and yet they go out and see just how much they can spend.  They would never admit to it, but they too are buying the love of those they care about in their life.  They are out there just like everyone else in the Black Friday craziness, even though they won't admit it and you most likely will never see them.   So on one hand, they act all high and mighty and righteous and on the other hand, they are in there with the heathen just like everyone else.

I hope this current trend of stores opening on Thanksgiving will end.  I'd like to see at least two days a year when the stores remain closed and people connect with family or themselves.  We don't need to shop 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  There is more to life than this.  I'd love to see people be more balanced in what they buy and really search deep within as to why they are buying what they are.

Christmas can be a fun time and I know the joy of opening up a brightly colored package at Christmas and the sounds of Christmas songs on the piano.  There is an excitement and anticipation unlike anything else.  It is fun and it gives me such a rush.  Yet, I'm not a material person and I really don't need items.  I would rather see someone give me something that meant they put a great deal of thought into it and it truly came from the heart.  To me, that's the definition of Christmas, not how much can I buy someone or how much can I get people to give to me.

I hope that each person reading this will stop and think about why they are giving gifts and what the real reason is behind the gifts.  Be honest with yourself and make the day into meaning, not just because everyone else is doing it or the stores convince us that we have to do it.  There is much more in life than owning things and when all else is gone in life, you will realize that the things are not what matters.  What you take with you through difficult moments is something within you, not prized possessions.

Blog Post And Images (c) 11/25/12 by Don Shetterly

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