Oh Where to Begin…
There are so many reasons why I don’t participate in Black Friday shopping, especially when it started on Thanksgiving.
Shopping on Black Friday isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s our attitude that worries me. I wasn’t always the anti- capitalism, corporations, money, greed or commercialism type. To some extent it was always true, but it was more because I was compassionate and wanted to help others. Commercialism has its place, but I could see when I was focused on getting more stuff, I didn’t focus as much on giving.
I can break down my reasons to not participate in Black Friday Shopping to three basic points.
It brings out the absolute worst in people
You’ll see in this series of videos that no good can come from Black Friday shopping. Yes, you might score a really good deal, but at what cost? Probably these are good people, but they have obviously lost their minds and for what? So they can save a few dollars. Nuh-uh, I’m not going down that road.
There are better ways to spend time with my family
I hear this all the time. Black Friday shopping is commonly used as an excuse to spend time with friends and family, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why. What’s fun about the thrill of being trampled to death or getting a super great deal when you can do it all year round. Some of those TVs I can find in the dumpster during student move out days- must not have that important to be moved back home. Score! My family finds a thrill of going dumpster diving, cooking together, crafting together and multitude of other ways. Yes, I supposed accidents happen everywhere, and in theory one of us could accidentally trip and shove a crocheting needle in our eye, but that’s far less likely than being trampled trying to get that slightly discounted TV. And to think that spending time with my family means that someone else can’t spend time for theirs is unthinkable.
It ruins Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is the one day of the year we actually stop and be thankful. How can we do that when we break workers away from their families in order to get more stuff. Even if we wait until the next day, black Friday shopping just seems like the worst case of taksie backsie. At least take a weekend to reflect and be thankful before getting wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of life.
Black Friday Shopping Lessons Learned
A lot of these opinions I’ve always had, but then I started working at K-mart. That’s not even the worst part. I had two training days when nobody, I repeat nobody, was even there. I really didn’t learn much or get that much experience before my first official day, which was…Black Friday. It was horrendous. And I thought I was going to die. I obviously made it, but not without learning a valuable life lesson. People yelled at me all day long. Was it my fault that the stuff wasn’t ringing up the price it was supposed to? I didn’t think so, but I suppose that it was my fault for not going fast enough. A lot of crying happened that day. Although, I had not a foggy clue what I was doing, but I kept going.
On that Black Friday I saw a darkness of people’s souls that I had never seen and am crushed to see year after year. And not just because they yelled at me, but it just brought out the worst in people. People who participate in Black Friday shopping aren’t bad people, but they do need to be aware of their mentality. The idea that we’ve taken the one holiday we have to actually be thankful and turned it in the greediest shopping day of the year sickens me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for saving money, but what do they need so bad that they need to pepper spray people and even kill people? The list of injuries and deaths go on and on and most of the stories say the people just kept going even though people were getting trampled on.
Black Friday Shopping Alternatives
So let us protest this great movement of selfishness by:
Hand-making a gift
This is always my favorite thing to do, often in the form of upcycling. Upcycling is a win-win. I put more effort into these gifts than I would have if I went to the store and bought it. I’ll end up buying a few things a few things. The internet is your oyster when it comes to upcycling and you can find practically anything in the trash. If you find a run of the mill craft think of different materials that you can find in the trash or from what you already have.
Gift a service you can do yourself
Car wash, babysitting, yard work or a massage. What better way to show someone you care than to give up some of your time to do something that you hate or don’t like to do for someone else.
Gift services at locally-owned business
These ideas might be a car tune-up, house cleaning, or a salon visit.
Gift a class together
My aunt and I took a glass bead making class together for my birthday one year, and those memories still bring me joy. I also got to make necklaces with the beads we made, which makes me smile too. If you have someone is your life that you need to spend more time with, why not give them a class membership to an art class, exercise class, cooking class or some other type of thing that the person or both of you like to do.
Gift a membership
This is a gift that keeps on giving not just to the recipient, but also to the business. Memberships to local nonprofits, gyms, charity groups are all ways to give back in multiple ways.
Donate in someone’s name
Not only is this a waste-free gift, but it’s also a gift in multiple ways.
Donating to a charity, planting a tree and dedicating to your co-work, or volunteering to an organization are some of my favorite ways to give back. Sometimes it’s hard to choose the right non-profit or organization because there’s a lot of distrust about the ways non-profits might use their funds. To help with this, there are ‘watch dog’ organizations, including Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and BBB Wise Giving Alliance, which will help you navigate the overwhelming amount of organizations.
Gift a meal at a locally-owned restaurant
Buy gifts from a locally-owned business
If you’re going to buy something, why not spend keep the money local. Out of every $100 spent at local businesses, $45 stays in the local economy. Out of every $100 spent at chain stores, everything but $14 leaves the local economy. They usually say to shop at small businesses on Saturday, but why not just take a look around a small shop and see what kind of deals they’re having?
Buy used from thrift shops or used music and book stores
I found my favorite book at a used book store and it was pretty much the best day ever. It didn’t have any marks on it or anything and I got for half the price. Paperbackswap.com is a book trading site. As you trade your books you get credits and then you use the credits to get a different book. The person shipping the book has to pay shipping, but otherwise it’s free. The site also has a place to swap CDs and DVDs. Amazon also has a selection of used merchandise, but I would suggest looking at your local thrift stores before resorting to that. You can find some real treasures there.
Use cash, not credit to avoid contributing to bank profits.
Boycott stores with striking workers and support picketers
A few years ago, the Wal-mart workers finally got tired of working with no respect from their bosses or from consumers. As a result, Wal-Mart has attempted to make amends in some areas (they have pretty far to go, but at least they’re doing something). As mindful consumers, we should give them our respect and help if we can. Also, many of many protests since Black Thursday has become a thing many stores are backing down and continuing with just being open on Friday. The power you have as a consumer is limitless. Companies want your money and they will listen, if we work together to make our point.
Let’s make Black Friday the new Green Friday by working together to consume less junk.