So Black Friday has gotten completely out of control.Â As I mentioned in my earlier post, I have pledged not to buy anything today, both in protest of the animalistic insanity that is going down at retail stores all over the country and because I would rather be poked in the eye with a hot needle than to stand in line for hours waiting to get the newest gadget cheap.
I’ve had some interesting enchanges with others about the Adbusters “Buy Nothing Day” Campaign.Â Some have mentioned that in these economic times, we need to get out there and spend and this sort of campaign actually prevents the growth of our economy.Â Personally I feel that it’s overspending, the overextension of credit, and the abundance of debt that’s got us in this mess in the first place.Â I have to belive that consuming in the same ‘ole sorts of ways is NOT the best way to reverse our economic situation in the long term.Â It may provide the immediate relief that so many are desperate for, but our overconsumption as Americans is the problem and we should be cautious to use consumption as a solution.
Regardless of what we think the answer to the economic downturn is, we have to take notice of the barbarianism that we’ve created across America known as “Black Friday”.Â I become more and more uneasy as I’ve been bombarded with the commercials and emails promoting sale-after-sale and the insanely-extended hours of my local retailers.Â I cringe hearing the stories of my friends who were out and about this morning braving the lines and cold just to get an item for less than they could a day later. I don’t like this trend. I haven’t always been able to put my finger on what about it saddens me (there are many sad aspects), until today.
I ran across this story out of New York where a Wal-Mart worker was trampled to death while opening the store for Black Friday.Â Reading this story saddens and sickens me beyond comprehension.Â What have we become as a people?Â This is why we must rethink consumerism and take great care as we approach our current financial crisis.Â Possibly we need to be re-parented as a people – relearning how to balance our checkbooks, rethinking our use of credit, and asking the question, “am I really defined by what I buy?).
Update: I ran across this great post from Gizmodo.com, a technology blog that ironically focuses on gadgets and other electronics that serve as the core items in most Black Friday sales. The post is humorous, but so true.