Ok ok, I can’t empirically prove that Black Friday is the embodiment of evil. But I don’t think it takes too hard of a look to see it for what it is. Brothers and sisters, let us act in a more excellent way.
Black Friday is the most concentrated form of that particular evil we call consumerism. That’s really the root of the problem here. My conscience has raised more and more grievances with consumerism, and I’ve decided I have to REJECT Black Friday and all of its empty promises (borrowing language from baptismal vows here).
This is really a year-round ethos. The reduction of consumption is a lifestyle proposition, but Black Friday is the most stark example of the grossness, so it’s a good place to start. Ultimately, I think it’s best to reduce one’s consumption:
Reduce the amount that you eat
Reduce the amount that you buy
Reduce the amount of electricity and fuel you use
Reduce the amount of waste you produce
Perhaps you have decided to REJECT Black Friday and its ever-present spirit too. If so, this could be a resource to encourage you or give you a moment to renew your vows, so to speak. Or to share with a friend who is already sleeping all day to stock up on the rest required to give it 110% for 24 hours of shopping, starting on Thanksgiving evening.
But you might be asking “So what could I do instead that would be better?” Well I’m glad you asked! Let’s take a look:
- Use of our money
The allure of Black Friday is that you get stuff. Super cheap! But is it that much cheaper? Not really. Look at the ads. Sales have been getting objectively less valuable because at this point, big box retailers know there’s a brand to Black Friday that people buy into. It’s like a holiday. But not a “holy day” which is where our word comes from. It’s a completely secular holiday based on greed, the comfort of buying something new, and the thrill of getting something super cheap!
Preferable Alternative: Instead, reject the temptation of Consumerism manifested by Black Friday and save your money. There are much more excellent ways to steward your resources.
You could simply not spend the money.
You could donate the money.
You could pray.*
*Hahahaha, just kidding. I know you won’t do that. Right?
- What that money buys
When you buy “deals” on Black Friday, is it actually anything you need? I doubt it. I feel like most of my friends and family are choking on the amount of stuff they have.
The last thing they need is one more thing. It’d make more sense to donate some of that stuff rather than add to it.
Maybe you argue that it’s Christmas presents for others that you’re buying on Black Friday.
I have an idea about that.
Preferable Alternative: Why not buy a higher quality gift from a store that doesn’t fuel the Black Friday frenzy? Or why not make a gift for them? Give them something more meaningful than a plastic item manufactured in China or a gift card.
That’s not gross.*
*Unless you’re very bad at crafting things. In that case, perhaps offer your time or services instead of an impersonal item you purchased from an impersonal store.
- Where that money goes
When you shop at big box retailers on Black Friday, that money goes to the top. The wealthy CEOs get richer. They store that money in off-shore bank accounts and hoard it until it no longer helps other people and it pollutes their own souls. Why assist that process?
Preferable Alternative: If you’re going to buy anything, buy it from individuals. Person-to-person purchases are not only more personal, they also keep the money in the hands of normal peeps like you, me, and that stay-at-home mom making fashionably ugly Christmas sweaters to bring in a few more bucks for her family.
Use p2p sites like Etsy.
Helpful sites for finding independent, small businesses near you:
- Our emotional life in response to buying habits
When you wait in lines at 4am to buy something you really don’t need, I think the gut recognizes the absurdity of it all. The body dumps chemicals into the blood stream that age your body. The stress mounts. The anxiety increases. The growing existential terror of existence gets brought to the surface, but the subconscious stuffs it back down even deeper into the psyche, making it harder to address honestly in the future. The tension rises.
Do anything that relieves stress and greed and anxiety. Your emotional life is important.
- Use of our time
Is it worth the wait, standing in line to buy all that garbage? Is it worth the driving around to various stores? How many minutes is a proper amount of minutes to give in to the impulse to consume, Consume, CONSUME!
Spend time with family.
Sleep in a little more.
Compile a list of all the things you hate about the 2016 election then rip it to shreds while you rage to System of a Down and pulverize the stuffing out of your couch.
Look, I know this isn’t a brand new concept. People from conservative and liberal viewpoints have been saying this for a long time. Bill McKibben (leading voice in environmental concerns and active Christian) has a great book on this called “Hundred Dollar Holiday” published back in 1998. Major news outlets have reported movements against Black Friday and boycotts for the last few years.
I’m just encouraging you to join me in rejecting consumerism. Maybe you reject Black Friday. You can extend that and reject consumerism all year.
Read resources like wikipedia.org/wiki/Buy_Nothing_Day.
Stick it to the man.