I did not buy a single thing today.
I didn’t even have to try not to, though. For one thing, I was working, actually earning money instead of spending it in some way (the opposite of my current financial strategy most of the time, ha).
But for another thing, I’ve been thinking about this day more than usual this year – and not in a good way (for Black Friday, that is. For me, it’s been great.)
I was first faced with a reminder of this ever-so-important day a little over a month ago. The source was the Yahoo front page, which admittedly I feel a little bit embarrassed about still having as my homepage, and which sometimes has ludicrously silly and trivial main headlines (I recall with especial ‘fondness’ the one entitled “The Best Way to Eat Chicken Wings – You’re probably not doing it right”).
ANYWAY, I remember thinking, “Black Friday? What does that mean? Oh, they do mean the day after Thanksgiving. But it’s not even Halloween yet! This is getting way out of hand, people.” But that was only the beginning.
Maybe I’m just noticing it more, but the hype around Black Friday seems more exaggerated than ever this year. From the sheer amount of news coverage, innumerable BF sites, and barrage of ads from all directions talking up the ‘event’, one alien to our culture might presume this to be a major holiday.
In fact, it is. Or it seems to be. I did not see much Thanksgiving ‘news’ or ads that I can recall. But I guess being happy about and thankful for what you have doesn’t really sell $25 printers, if you take my point. (Though it does sell a lot of very specific food items, obviously.)
But that’s what I find so completely baffling about the entire thing. The proximity of two such fundamentally opposed paradigms – so much so that I feel the bastard lead-in to Christmas (BF) has all but overshadowed the original holiday (Thanksgiving) and its meaning completely.
So, let me get this straight. After what should ideally be a day of gratitude, an occasion where we actually stop to look around and appreciate all the things in life we work so hard for, the reasons for working and trying and doing, the first thing we’re supposed to do is…
Go out and buy things until we drop.
In a time when our wasteful way of life is becoming swiftly more apparent, and more problematic, than ever, there’s still this frantic plea of desperation over it all, trying to drown out all that unpleasantness by imploring us to buy. Buy. BUY!
As if it’s some kind of cure.
Incidentally, I’m planning to make most of my Christmas gifts this year.