Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thinking of Others

Sale Sign

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:


Deanna said...

Good point. I absolutely refuse to shop on Black Friday but you are right about Sundays as well. I am not much of a shopper at any time but I must admit that I do sometimes pick up a few groceries after church at a small, locally owned grocery store once in awhile, simply because it's right on our way home from church. I also think about this while eating out on Sundays and feel sorry for those who are working. On the other hand, the restaurant where we usually eat Sunday lunch is a small, family owned and operated Mexican restaurant so I'm torn between giving them our business vs. not *making* them work on Sundays. These decisions are a bit more complicated than they were when the chances of even finding something open on Sundays was slim.

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

The NPR show "To The Point" addressed the topic of employees having to work on Thanksgiving on their Wed. night show.

My mom called me yesterday asking for my Christmas wish list + I thought about it + said that I wanted nothing this year. I'm still getting rid of + selling stuff, so why would I want to bring more into the house? I was going to ask for money so I could buy a large plant for the living room, and mentioned this to a friend who said he had too many plants + had one in mind to give me.

Black Friday gives poor people an opportunity to buy socks? Hu?

Cherie said...

Shona, my husband and I have pretty much been that way for most of our marriage - we rarely give things to one another as we don't really need anything. And although I ask family members to not give me anything, well-meaning ones sometimes do anyway. I do appreciate the thought but I find it extremely wasteful. I do know that some people probably use Black Friday to purchase necessities on sale (like socks :)), but I suspect most people are buying luxury items.

Cherie said...


It is a dilemma and you're right, our world has gotten so complicated. I posed the very same question during a study group where we were talking about child slavery in the third world. I pointed out that families in other countries depend upon that extra income so are we hurting or helping by refusing to buy certain goods? In the short run, until fair wages are paid to the adults, it does hurt the family.