Every year Black Friday sees us frantically accumulating supposedly discounted goods before the deals disappear. Every year, it starts earlier and earlier. What began, innocently enough, as one day, after Thanksgiving, intended to “kick off” the holiday shopping season, has somehow morphed into a day of consumer madness. It began as simply, Black Friday, and over the years extended to Black Friday Weekend. When shopping online became a “thing,” we added Cyber Monday to the mix. Now, in some places there is Black Friday Week or even WEEKS.
This year, as Black Friday, the consumption-centric day of sales, approached, retailers turned to even more creative solutions in order to succeed during this unprecedented holiday shopping season. It’s very easy to get caught up in all the hype and flashy marketing, making excessive purchases, which aren’t necessary and throwing money away without so much as a second thought. For what? The truth is, most of us don’t NEED anything that’s on sale during the madness that is Black Friday.
Then why do it?
I realize that for many people, going shopping on Black Friday is a tradition. It’s the thrill of the hunt. It’s the excitement of grabbing those “doorbuster” deals. However, this year, even the adrenaline-filled, door-busting stampedes of the past seem to be just that, "a thing of the past." Maybe, it’s finally time for us to critically examine the consumerist culture for perhaps, the first time.
Perhaps, it’s time to rethink Black Friday. Perhaps, there is a better way.
Be honest: Do you really like to fight the crowds, battling with other shoppers for that $99 TV (to add to the three other ones you already have in the house)? Do you need another small kitchen appliance, which, deep down, you KNOW you will never use? It will just gather dust and clutter your home, contributing to the mess, which you will need to clean up. I understand that when you bought that discounted keyboard, badminton racket or book of clothing patterns for pet outfits, you had big dreams, however, where are those items now?
Although there is nothing intrinsically wrong with shopping in general, whether it's on Black Friday, Cyber Monday or any other day for that matter. The problem starts when we become too preoccupied with the idea of immediate gratification while purchasing unnecessary things which not only drain our wallets, but also harm our values and destroy the environment.
We need to look past the consumer-driven chaos and focus on the things which matter most. It’s time to embrace a simpler lifestyle. Balancing all of life’s demands can be stressful and time-consuming, all on its own. With work or school deadlines, family responsibilities and extracurricular activities, life can be a bit overwhelming at times. However, by accumulating more unnecessary stuff, you’re just adding to that pile. Simplifying your life and stopping the madness that’s creating all this compulsory consumption, should make it easier to see what’s really important.
How about starting new traditions this year? Why not try and make Black Friday a little more mindful. Abandon the consumption-centric activities. Instead, find a way to bond with your loved ones in a way which doesn’t involve buying more and more useless stuff. If you were planning on waking up early to go shopping, you could still wake up early and use that time to reflect or meditate and practice mindful journaling before beginning your day. Instead of going shopping, consider volunteering your time helping the less fortunate.
This Black Friday, consider resisting the consumer-driven culture and actively carve out moments of calm amongst the mayhem.
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