Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the United States. That makes today “Black Friday”. According to Wikipedia, “The day’s name originated in Philadelphia, where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Use of the term started before 1961 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation was made: that retailers traditionally operated at a financial loss (“in the red”) from January through November, and “Black Friday” indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or “in the black”…Black Friday shopping is known for attracting aggressive crowds, with annual reports of assaults, shootings, and throngs of people trampling on other shoppers in an attempt to get the best deal on a product before supplies run out.”
The irony of this has been pointed out numerous times, that irony being that the very day after giving thanks for everything one has, people rush out to buy more “stuff” that they probably don’t need. And now, these “Black Friday” sales are starting on Thanksgiving evening around 8:00 p.m. – so it makes me wonder if people are giving thanks for the sales in the same breath that they’re giving thanks for everything else. I’m calling this the “Black Friday Creep” because it (the start of Black Friday) creeps back a little earlier every year.
It’s a sad commentary in this country that gratitude is reserved for one day out of the entire year. Why is that? It seems that here in the West, we have such an abundance that we take a great many things for granted. We don’t cultivate an attitude of gratitude. We live in such a time of instant gratification, where just about anything and everything a person could want can be had…for the right price. I wonder…is our humanity included in that price? The line between “want” and “need” has become blurred for those of us living here in America.
Do we really need that new big-screen t.v.? That new smart-phone? What if….and I know it’s a stretch, but stay with me just a second….what IF…everyone who was spending so much money shopping at the Black Friday sales and buying all that stuff…what if they spent that money to buy food for the hungry here in America. What if they bought clothes for those who need them, here in America? See, the thing is, you don’t have to look for a third-world country to find that kind of hand-to-mouth poverty – because we have plenty of it, right here in America. Can you imagine how much good that kind of money could do…for those who NEED it?
Guilt trip aside, it’s easy to justify reasons to spend your money on things you want. You work hard for it, you deserve it. I get it. And yes, you’re right. You do work hard, you do deserve to enjoy it. Would you consider picking up some canned goods to donate to the local food pantry while you’re out? Or a coat that may be on sale, to give to the Salvation Army or some other place that could get it to someone who needs it? I guess all I’m asking is that you take a moment to be grateful that you have a job, that you have a house, food to eat and clothes to wear. Every day. Not just on Thanksgiving, but every day. If you’re reading this on your own computer, do you realize how truly “rich” you are? Try “richer” than 75% of the WORLD.
What if...we could somehow turn “Black Friday” into “Feel good Friday” by spending some of that money on others…to help those who need the things we take for granted? Would you do it? 🙂