Friday, November 26, 2010

Why Black Friday is Really Black

"Conspicuous Consumption" by Melanie Deal
People lined up at Walmart before the sun came up.  My daughter asked me if I wanted to go shopping with her today so I could have the experience of Black Friday.

I said no thanks.  We can spend quality time some other way.

Economists may say that by shopping we can help America out of the Recession-Depression.  But what else do we lose if we are constantly shopping?

The biggest loss for us is that we remain stuck in this mind set that we have to acquire so many things.  Things we don't need.  Things that will get tossed out when we die.  Things our descendants will fight over (and then find reasons to hate each other).

If you are 20 and you are thinking, what does this have to do with me?  Well..... becoming an real American consumer does a number of things to you.

1.  You buy things before you need them.  Example:

family members are telling us we need to buy a new flat screen TV.  Its great they tell us, no glare, takes up less space.  Well maybe so.  But the gigantic Sony we bought 5 years ago (for $850.00) is still working wonderfully.  We don't need Blue Ray.  And I tell you, I'd rather spend the 700-1000+ plus going to visit my new grandbaby. A friend may tell me, well just charge it!  No, I don't want more debt.  I have enough as it is with a car note, a mortgage and a few credit card bills (I read once that credit card debt is the new form of indentured servitude).

2.  Buying and buying leads you to think more about having things than about what is going on inside of your mind and your heart.  (ever heard of Shop Therapy?  --- that is what happens when buying makes you feel better - the "thing" becomes a form of artificial medicine and cocaine for the soul).

3.  Eventually you own so much clutter you have to rent a storage room for for all your stuff - or have a garage sale (if your neighborhood association lets you).  So all that time and money you spent buying things is all gone (or hidden).

Enjoy Black Friday - do it the old fashioned way - spend a day thinking, reading, or actually having conversations with people you love.  You will have more money in your checking account (or a lower credit card balance) at the end of the day and you may add a few more quality days to your life (they say satisfying relationships are what make our lives longer and happier not owning a newer and bigger TV)

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