Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday - A Social Commentary

Shooting in a parking lot of a Walmart in California....

A woman pepper spraying fellow shoppers so that she could get her hands on a Wii game for $20 as opposed to the normal $60....

At a WalMart in North Carolina a security guards pepper sprayed shoppers who were pushing and shoving because they felt a riot was going to break out.....

Over 10,000 people waited outside the flagship Macy's store in New York City for hours prior to the store's midnight opening....

These are just a few of the many stories in the press about the craziness of "Black Friday".  I am perpetually amazed each year how crazy things get with "Black Friday".

What does it say about a society in which it's citizens place such a high priority on buying things that they are willing to sacrifice sleep and more importantly time with their families and closest friends so that they can go out on a holiday and wait in lines for hours to be the first customers in the door of stores on "Black Friday"?

 (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.)

To me it is a society that has lost it's direction.  To me it is a society in which the constant purchasing of "things" makes up for an intrinsic lack of purpose within it's citizens.  To me it is a society in which consumerism has been raised to the level of purpose and direction in life as opposed to personal goals that advance the mind, body or spirit of it's citizens.

It is sad because if you take away our focus on consumerism, our society would fall apart.  Consumer demand for all these things that we desire is what drives our economy.  When the American citizen stops consuming the impact is that the world economy grinds to a halt.

Are people's lives that utterly empty that buying things provides them with such satisfaction?  Whatever happened to the idea of saving money and providing for our futures instead of just buying stuff?

Obviously I am not immune to consumerism.  I buy stuff.  I buy stuff that I don't necessarily need - it's just stuff that I want.  But I am not willing to sit in the cold and wait for hours and hours for the store to open.  Consuming stuff isn't so important that I am willing to sacrifice my sleep or spending the time with friends or family.  I like shopping but - I just don't get it.

I really wonder if consumerism is going to be the force that pushes society over the edge.  Will it be the force that bankrupts our country?  Will it be the force that destroys the natural resources of our world and pushes our environment to a point of breaking?

I don't have any answers to the questions I am posing.  But society must take a step back and look if this is really the direction that we want to go.  My personal hope is that we can pull back from the craziness at some point, but I don't think any of us has the intestinal fortitude to make it happen.  How sad is that?

Needless to say, neither Zack or I were out shopping for bargains on this Black Friday.  We have had a very low key holiday week so far.  Zack was off of school on Wednesday.  We used that day to take care of a lot of errands and buy food that was needed for our contributions to Thanksgiving Dinner.  Yesterday we got up early and made pumpkin pies.  Every year I am tasked with making the pumpkin pies because of my special pie recipe.  It is fun to make them and it makes me happy when people love the task of my pies.  My secret with my pumpkin pies is that I use a ton of heavy whipping cream in them as opposed to condensed milk.  It makes all the difference in the world! 

Around noon I went to Cranbrook and picked up Nancy.  She spent the rest of the afternoon with Zack and me watching football on TV until it was time to leave for my brother's house.  We spent a good part of the day at my brother's.  There were a number of our friends there and it was in general a really good afternoon.  The food was great!  Nancy wasn't feeling the best so I took her home around 7:00PM.  Zack and I stayed at Tim and Celinde's til almost 9:00PM watching the Ravens/49er's football game.

Unfortunately due to all the walking and being up and about yesterday, my leg was in quite a good bit of pain so today Zack and I ran some errands early in the morning but then spent the rest of the day at home.  Nancy stopped by for a while when she was on her way to WalMart.  And Cole - my nephew spent most of the afternoon here with Zack goofing around.  They rode bikes and scooters pretty much the entire afternoon so I know Zack is definitely going to sleep well tonight.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and has a pleasant weekend ahead!

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you, it's pretty sad.

Elasti-Girl; Kris said...


I'm glad you had a nice holiday. Your pumpkin pie secret is safe with me, though I am stealing it to add to my step-mom's pumpkin pie recipe (as I've been told I'll be tasked with making it when she dies- she's fond of telling me that).