I meant to put up something about Buy Nothing Day here on the blog yesterday. Well, time got away from me and I ended up just putting a quick comment about it up on facebook. Over the last few years, I've tried to spread the word about Buy Nothing Day as I am so opposed to the rampant consumerism that we gorge on in the US. My husband also pointed out that we spend one day counting all of our blessings, and then the very next day we run out in search of more *stuff* because we don't have enough.
I'm embarrassed to admit that there's another element of the day known as "Black Friday" that I haven't given much thought to: the store employees. This morning, as I was going through the blogs that I read on my Google Reader (I'm way behind with over 800 to read!), I ran across this commentary on the day. As someone in retail, Vivienne points out that stores opened early, early on Black Friday - as early as 10:00 p.m. on Thursday. Not only that, employees had to arrive before the store opened to get ready for the sale. Add time for commuting, time getting ready for work, and to get enough sleep in order to be able to function on the job. In order to accomplish all of this, she points out that bedtime needed to be at 2:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day! As bad as that is, other stores opened as early as 9:00 p.m. this year so those employees really didn't have a Thanksgiving holiday.
I read another blogger defending Black Friday as an opportunity for less fortunate individuals to purchase much needed items like socks and jeans at a more affordable price. However, nothing prevents the stores from offering special sales at another time, allowing a more sane holiday weekend. And we can have a say in this madness. What if they threw a sale and nobody came?
I'm especially addressing people of faith who should be the most vocal on this subject. I hear people lament how terrible it is that employees are forced to work on holidays, Sundays, etc., yet have no problem frequenting the very places that are open on those days. It's simply a case of supply and demand: If we stopped shopping on those days, the stores and restaurants would not be open. So maybe we should extend the Buy Nothing Day spirit into the rest of the year and refrain from shopping and eating out on days when everyone, by our own admission, should be home with their families.
(Photo source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1335852)