A week from today (or a week from last night) Americans will be lining up and camping out to consume products and other items that will likely be obsolete and in a landfill in 5-10 years. This is a madness that is "respected" year round, and over all the majority of people think that sleeping overnight on a sidewalk for an iPhone or leaving Thanksgiving dinner early to go take advantage of "deals" they can't miss is completely normal and acceptable behavior.
I have never participated in "Black Friday" shopping deals, and I never will. As an American, I live in an environment where consumption of all kinds is heavily celebrated. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and couldn't be a more hypocritical event to engage with after supposedly "giving thanks". Some deals begin at 6pm ON Thanksgiving, or midnight, so for some, this means that mere hours after saying they are thankful for what they have, the rush to wait in line or fight others for products like TVs and tablets.
You may save a couple hundred bucks on electronics but you lose time with your family. The nickname Black Friday was coined by the people working at these establishments, who are also losing out on time with their loved ones due to this demand. The loss of dignity to these workers and the psychologically conditioned, over consuming populace can only be regained by refusing to partake in such events.
I have to ask myself why finite OBJECTS are given more value than our time, our families, and giving respect to others? What is going on here that makes people think that this overconsumption is ok? Let's go over some myths about Black Friday and debunk them!
1. People that work Black Friday are paid more and choose to be there.
FALSE. Sadly, in most retail stores or mall offices, workers are given either no choice over their schedule, or are forced to choose between Thanksgiving & Christmas. In a lot of establishments, workers may even sign a contract when they are hired to work either on or the day after Thanksgiving (or both), as well as on Christmas Eve & the day after Christmas. Yes, there are probably some people that don't mind the work or extra pay, but that is a minority. Most workers are completely dissatisfied with their place of employment during this time of year despite the possibility of financial gain.
Holidays are memorable, important occasions that are healthy for the human mind to celebrate and revere. For many, holidays are a time for remembering loved ones that have passed on, and spending time with our friends and family. These two holidays are about giving thanks, and giving thoughtful gifts to those we love. Unfortunately these holidays have been completely hijacked by industry (much like everything else in society), and are instead celebrated as times to "get stuff." Stay home with friends and family, and you will get much much more than "stuff."
2. Black Friday & Christmas shopping are "good for the economy."
FALSE! Black Friday & Christmas shopping are good for CHINA and INDIA's economies, NOT the USA's economy. The best way to ACTUALLY support the American economy is to shop at locally owned stores, buying locally produced goods. Look for things that are Made in America, shop on Etsy, go to a local shop in your city or town, or peruse other online marketplaces selling AMERICAN goods.
Savvy stock traders sell off all of their retail stock before Black Friday, because they will LOSE money! Black Friday sales actually decrease stock prices in retail stores until January! Think you're supporting the economy? Think again.
3. Black Friday deals are the best deals of the year.
This one couldn't be more false. You might not save any money, and the stores might not even profit. A store can have 1 Xbox in stock and advertise that they have the Xbox for $199. Even though they only have ONE! This happens all the time. Most items are not even discounted any more than they have in the weeks leading up to Black Friday. Expect to run into special tags that say things like "lowest price ever!" that mean absolutely nothing.
4. "Black Friday" earned it's name because everyone is happy and smiling.
FALSE! Black Friday earned it's name because it sucks! The people that work in the stores hate it, the police hate it, and the people who have to watch their consumption driven family members leave the table so they can go feed their strange addiction hate it as well!
STAY HOME! Relax. Don't participate in the ridiculous frenzy. Start a new trend or new holiday tradition. Americans are already so stressed and over worked, why add the stress of dealing with crazy people on your day off from work? Why support businesses that exploit their employees?
This year I am not cooking for Thanksgiving. Instead we're making a donation to the North Texas Food Bank. I'm going to fast on water for 3 days and spend time out at my family's lake house and take a big dose of nature. This is where my intuition is calling me this year and I'm comfortable letting it lead and guide me into stillness and contemplation.
Things to do the day after Thanksgiving: Spend time with friends & family, shop local, stay home & relax, volunteer, donate money or food, spend time in nature, do some yoga, help a friend or neighbor in need, focus on loved ones, hangout with your children, garden, whatever your heart is truly calling for.
Why not seize any moment of calm in your life that you can? Time off work to take care of myself is a deal I can't pass up. I invite you to do the same and I hope that you will. Boycott Black Friday with me and take a stance for Love, Friends, Family, Humanity, and Dignity.