Nov 21, 2012

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Boycotting Black Friday

Boycotting Black Friday
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It is a busy week for all of us, with thoughts of big meals, good company, and maybe even travel. Sadly, on top of all of these marvelous activities, there also tends to be a hum in the air: shopping. Somewhere along the way (I could research it but I kinda don’t care), the Friday following a day meant to be one of Grace and Gratitude ends up being a day filled with consumerism of epic proportions and a side of every-man-for-himself.

Now don’t get me wrong; I do love that this year I am seeing more “Shop Local” campaigns than ever as the holidays approach. I just can’t, however, shake the resentment at the implication that I am here to consume;  that naturally I will trample others for a good sale price if you tell me what day to be there.

So for the fourth (I think?) year in a row, my family is boycotting Black Friday. We make sure we have everything we need on Wednesday, and then commit to not spending a penny Friday all day. See, I believe that a lot of our “voting” power comes with our dollars; and not just voting for what we want in products (like buying something made in China from WalMart vs. supporting something made locally), but voting for what values we have (like valuing spending time with my family on Thanksgiving instead of valuing 25% off at stores that are now choosing to be open during this holiday). I find it sad that so many of us identify ourselves as consumers that we actually have a feeling of “missing out” if we don’t show up at 5am to fight for $5 off on socks.

If this world is actually going to change for the better, then we all need to begin to make choices that value people over profit; choices from the point of view that community is more important than corporation. How are we supposed to begin creating this world at the same time as we give large corporations the power to choose not only what we’ll buy, but when we’ll buy it? What are we saying matters?

Of course, since there is no one right way to live, I am not here to judge those who are ready with their savings to shop-til-they-drop. I am just here to point out that our actions speak louder than our words. All over the planet we hear cries for freedom, and then in our wealthy country we get mad if we have to spend an extra dollar on something that a six-year-old went blind to make us. When we truly get how large our individual impact is on the world we are creating together, I can’t imagine anyone getting excited over choosing spending money on things over spending quality time with people. And I also know that when there is a day that people decide collectively to NOT shop, it will have way more power and positive impact on the whole planet than any day of sales will ever accomplish.

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  1. Oh That Donald says:

    I worked in retail in the late 70s/early 80s ; back then, “Black Friday” was an insider term of derision and those shoppers were looked down upon. How this became some sort of National Holiday is beyond my understanding. The idea of it violates the very Spirit of the Holidays – ALL the Holidays! – and hurts my heart. Not one dime, EVER.

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