Annual disclaimers before my Black Friday rant:
1) I am firmly in favor of capitalism and having a strong economy. I love the idea of consumer confidence and the boost which strong sales gives the numbers and our overall perspective of how things are going.
2) I worked in retail store management and merchandising for seven years in the days when the ONLY way to get a great deal on Black Friday was to stand in line at the door of the store on the day after Thanksgiving, because we spent the afternoon of the day before Thanksgiving marking special buys from regular merchandise stock.
3) I am not a dream-eyed ex-hippie who lives with some unrealistic Utopian view of How We Ought To Be (cue John Lennon soundtrack ). Okay, maybe I am an ex-hippie, but I am no Utopian… I’m a Missourian:)
I am concerned …
1) … that an overemphasis on the commercial aspects of the holiday season is degrading the non-commercial aspects, such as family time, sharing with others in less tangible ways, and being actively grateful for what we have, rather than focusing on what we want.
2) … that the focus on buying is another area where our critical thinking skills have either never developed or have atrophied from disuse. We are snookered all too easily by clever advertisements and misleading statements.
3) … that the nature of shopping during the holiday season is too often competitive rather than collegiate. We hunt in packs and consider other packs our enemies, to be outwitted, outplayed, and outlasted.
4) … that all the things I am concerned about occur within an exponentially expanding pressure cooker. We face increasing pressure to do it all, be it all, and have it all. Aside from the physical and psychological impossibility of accomplishing this, it just exhausts us to try.
Of course, those who read this are those who did NOT spend Thanksgiving in the cold outside a store, or wake very early this morning to begin their quest for the cheapest and best presents out there.
You get the value of slower, less acquisitive, and more reflective. Good for you … the other ones probably would not listen anyway:)
You’re probably sitting quietly with a hot cup of coffee, nodding in agreement …
Sigh … trying to find the real spirit of theholiday and maintain a healthy perspective in the Heartland ….