Skip to comments.I hate Black Friday
Posted on 11/25/2011 1:27:16 PM PST by NYer
I confess, I despise Black Friday. I hate the way consumers are urged to haul their Thanksgiving-exhausted selves out to stores away from family members who have often traveled some distance to come together so they can surrender their human dignity or assault the dignity of others in order to snag a ten-dollar sweater and a waffle-maker for $9.99.
And I hate the way consumers go along with it.
I hate the way the mad buying and bad behavior is attached to Christmas the coming of the Christ was meant to set us free, and yet the over-commercialization of the Holidays feeds our greed and tethers us to our possessions in a way that can only weigh us down, more firmly, to earthly concerns.
We are not released, only further encumbered.
And am I the only one who, each year, finds the Christmas commercials less ingratiating and more off-putting? The season has only just begun, but already I cant stand the commercial where a son travels through snow to see his parents, only to find an empty house, because his Boomer parents not interested in welcoming him have sneaked out the back and taken his car for a spin? Click! The channel changes every time that commercial comes on.
Shes not writing specifically about Christmas, but in her column this week on Patheos, Elizabeth Duffy examines the emptiness of a life too full of things:
Its time to admit that just as my kids dont play with the wooden toys Id prefer them to play with, I dont wear half my clothes; Ill never read half my books; and I dont bake specialty cakes. And yet, over the years I have accumulated an outrageous number of artifacts for a multi-faceted fantasy life that no one in this house actually lives.
Accumulating all of that stuff it actually creates distance between our real selves and what we think were supposed to be, as dictated to us through advertisers and trends. Buy these $400 shoes and you will be happy; imagine yourself walking down a runway in this dress (that no one can actually wear unless theyre built like an adolescent boy) and it will mean something to you. Really, it will.
But it never does. Because things are just things. They dont add to your wisdom; they dont make you a better or kinder or happier person. If you give them your love, they wont love you back.
As Elizabeth writes:
Because I can afford them, Ill buy five pairs of jeans in search of the one perfect pair. I may only spend twenty bucks, and have five pairs of name-brand jeans, but who needs them? Who can store them? Who has the lifestyle to support five pairs of name-brand jeans? Not me. And to be real, I probably have three times that, because I have my normal jeans, my pregnant jeans, and my fat jeans wardrobe. Also a skinny jeans wardrobe, just in case.
So there, I have clothed myself, and all my potential selves, on a dime. Yay me.
I used to make my peace with Black Friday and the excesses of the season because I considered that even the bad behavior was rooted, ultimately, in love; that people were acting like loons over things because they were motivated by their love for their families. But thats not convincing me, any longer.
Each year, I find myself less willing to take part in any of this, less persuaded that I must go out and buy things for people who already have more than enough of everything, because somehow this is supposed to demonstrate my love. Things mean love.
Well, Im not doing it. The littlest kids are getting gifts (small ones; hello chess sets!) and everyone else is getting homemade cookies or Monastic soaps, cremes and candies high-quality things that are quickly used and gone, and whose purchase helps sustain houses of prayer or books that can actually change peoples lives by helping them to find a measure of true comfort and joy, those two genuine gifts of Christmas. The parish outreach will get the bulk of our Christmas fund.
Advent begins this weekend, and it should be a time of quietening-down, of expectation born of introspection and prayer, and yet those straining to hear the voices of prophecy and heralding angels hear only buy, buy, buy!.
Somewhere between the excesses of the Occupy Wall Street crowd and the excesses of the Black Friday Shoppers, there is balance and reason. But increasingly, our culture can only swing between the two extremes.
The ride is making me sick. I want off.
You’d have to be a psycho to put up with that cheet.
Black Friday is capitalism.
It is simple. Do not participate.
If more people decided to have a nice, quiet non-commercial Christmas then all of that crap would go away.
Is Andy Rooney back?
I avoid the stores on Black Friday.
I usually shop online, especially on Cyber Monday.
I did find a couple of good online deals today, however.
I confess, I despise Black Friday.
I did all of my "Black Friday" shopping on Tuesday ... online.
No hassles. No troubles. No crowds.
I don’t see the problem. If you don’t approve of Black Friday and think it’s all just commercial hype, ignore it. Do what you want to do on the day after Thanksgiving. No one’s forcing anyone to go shopping. We’ve got bigger problems than crowded malls.
I agree Christmas has become to commercial, but it is kind of hard to complain when the church stole December 25th. Let’s have Christmas around October 1st if we really want to have a true religious holiday.
WHAT? You don’t got the stuff? Everybody did! I got more stuff than y’all! After lunch I be gettin’ more. Stuff!
I agree. I don’t think that I’ll go so far as to give Monastic soap to my family, but one year I bought each of them a piglet to be given to families in Uganda. The pigs are raised for meat and for breeding more pigs — thus to provide a sustainable living for the recipients.
I hate the way that the purveyors of “Black Friday” have stolen the meaning of Thanksgiving from the american people, and I refuse to participate any more.
No worries...won’t be named “Black Friday” too much longer.
Not PC, you know.
Probably be changed to “1 Percenter Day”.
My wife manages a retail store in Rockford, IL. I had to call her around 1:45 pm our time and she said it had been solid lines of people since 6:00 AM. She’s budgeted to do $26K, but if it kept up as it has, she’ll do around $50K. You don’t have to ask who’ll have dinner ready for her when she gets home (along with a glass of red wine...
BTW, went to breakfast with her sister & her husband who stayed overnight and were leaving for Chicago. Stopped at Wal-Mart afterward to pick up a couple ink cartridges. They weren’t that busy at all (around 11 am). Asked the register clerk how it had been and she said it wasn’t all that busy. But this is a small town (Rochelle, IL). I imagine people were more inclined to head to Rockford or in toward Elgin or Naperville.
I don’t go along. I refuse to play the game. I don’t go anywhere on Black Friday.
I agree 100% with this article.
Look, I’m all for the economy but not at the price of acting like greedy pigs. The last several years, people have been assaulted physically - one was even killed at a NY Wal-Mart. Ridiculous.
I refuse to participate. I’d rather stay home, pray, and focus on the real meaning of Christmas.
I am one of those who pretty much ignore Black Friday but have no problem with it either.
The only time I have purposely gone to a store for one of those bargains was around 10 years ago when Wal-Mart had a camera I wanted for a very good price. When I got there they were sold out but surprisingly they gave me a rain check. After a couple of weeks I asked them if I could have a similar, actually a little better one for the rain check and the girl went ahead and approved it.
I would never fight the crowds for the real early specials tho.
this ‘ could ‘ be racist
I am absolutely stunned that anyone takes part in this. It is like something from a movie - people going nuts over a bunch of “stuff” that will most likely end up at the back of a closet in short order. Going out shopping on Boxing Day also boggles the mind. Collectively speaking, we’re nuts.