Friday, November 27, 2009

When Black Friday Comes

"It's the holiday season, so woop-de-doo and hickory dock"--Andy Williams

Yes folks, it's that time again. The time for cheesy TV movies, pointless debates about the phrase "Happy holidays," and grown ups fighting over a laughing Elmo toy. It all starts today with that wonderful day all retailers anticipate . . . Black Friday!

A couple of years ago when I was working at Pier 1 Imports, I had the unfortunate privilege of working on Black Friday. My heart goes out to everyone working in retail today. (Special prayers are welcomed for my fiancee Amy, who has to work at Babies R Us today from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Fortunately not everyone celebrates the day after Thanksgiving by stampeding over shoppers to get that best buy. Buy Nothing Day is the anti-Black Friday when anti-consumerist activists do not spend money on anything for the entire day, not even a tank of gas. I'm pretty good at sticking to Buy Nothing Day, although last year I did buy some toothpaste and facial soap from CVS last year during Black Friday. I'm against extreme consumerism just as much as the next person, but I also don't want to have bad acne and halitosis.

My friend Chase Andre is doing something interesting called Operation: Black Friday Takeover. He and some friends gave bottles of water to people standing in line to get inside the stores. Then they collected the empty bottles, and will recycle them and give the money to Charity: Water. Stay tuned and I'll let you all know how they did.

All this does get me to thinking about how I've been spending my money. Lately I've spending lots of money on music, especially since now I've discovered it's cheaper and easier to just download albums from the Internet. But it all adds up after a while, and besides I'm not really supposed to be spending all this money on myself this time of year. So I'm going to make a conscious effort to watch how I spend my money. I'll try to get into the habit of asking myself, "Do I really need this, or do I just want it? Is this going to make some one else happy, or just make me happy?"

So I hope everyone else reading this will look past the extreme commercialization of what used to be a religious celebration, and remember the true meaning of the holiday season. Oh great, now I sound like one of those cheesy TV movies!

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