What Does Black Friday Say About Our Values?
One moment you’re existing in a golden haze of turkey, stuffing, football, and the love of your family and friends. Then Black Friday (now Thursday) pops up and slaps you across the face! All of a sudden you’re standing in the cold among strangers, and then — when the poor, overworked, underpaid employees of Walmart or Target open the doors — pushing and elbowing your way towards the latest iDevice.
To me — and many others — Black Friday is associated with corporate greed and violence. In 2008, a mob of Americans celebrating Black Friday broke down the doors of a Walmart in New York and trampled a temporary employee and two shoppers to death. Although Walmart made $466 billion last fiscal year, the company still hasn’t paid the measly $7,000 fine from the Occupation Health and Safety Administration for the employee’s death. In 2010, several people were injured fighting over towels in Texas. In 2011, a woman in California used pepper spray on shoppers battling for an XBox 360. Roughly 20 people were injured.
These are all terrible incidents, but the thing that bugs me most about Black Friday is that it caters to the worst of American culture — the desires to consume and possess. Are we rushing to buy treasures that will last our lifetimes? Or is Black Friday just an excuse to buy whatever trendy gadget or toy is “in” for the 2013 Christmas season. These gifts — so prized Christmas morning — retreat further and further into our desks, closets, and minds until we forget about them and find ourselves — once again — beating down the doors of Target for something new.
You may be able to get a great deal on that whatever you plan to buy. But do you really need to spend money on it at all? We simply don’t need the stuff we rush out of the house to buy on Black Friday. We don’t need to accumulate more junk that will just end up in landfills.
The Christmas season is about peace on earth and goodwill towards man. It’s listening to jingle bells over and over and over and watching “A Christmas Story” at least twenty times. It’s about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, who loved us so much he died on a cross for our sins.
I say, unpack your pepper spray, take off your parka, and skip celebrating Black Friday. Stay home with your family and friends and watch “Elf” instead. You’ll be doing something good for your spirit and the environment. Plus you’ll be a lot warmer.
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