Can anyone truly enjoy themselves by shopping on BF? Surely one of the circles of Hell is perpetual participation in this retail version of Dante’s Inferno. As loot grab I guess I understand why it happens. I think it’s more a spirit of competitive consumption that drives its adherents more than “good deals”. Now that the retailers have ceded the last vestige of dignity by opening at midnight or earlier and forcing their staff to forego the holiday with their families; what remains of the overshadowed holiday itself? It has become mere prelude to folly.
“We lose on each sale, but we make it up in volume!” That old joke appears to have been around since 1933 at least. Doorbusters? Really? I have a hard time believing that the frenetic deal-making of the BF event is good for those businesses foolish enough to participate in it. It’s unilateral disarmament to not participate, so I understand the driving forces here, but I wonder at what point do we see some participants opt-out of the insanity? Most of my friends opted out of the shopping, so hope springs eternal. What does retail leadership look like anyway?
Is it not obvious that BF is mostly merely a time shift in spending? In that regard, it’s sleight of hand. BF is a snapshot view of the spending on one day. It’s nothing more. The entire season tells the economic story; not the day. Black Friday is nearly as poor a representation of the economic pulse and health of the nation as the stock market on a given day. Perhaps nothing so dramatically points out the rot in our body economic that is the consumerist vision of our nation than this single day. For more detailed analysis of the numbers behind BF and its real meaning to us, please visit Charles Hugh Smith’s always thoughtful blog and read Just a Holiday Reminder: Black Friday Is Utterly Meaningless.
I won’t even go into the reality of the stuff that’s being bought, that will be for another post as it’s far from just a Black Friday issue. See a great post from EnergyCircle Pro about how to deal with the energy that stuff will be using.
What to do instead
My good friend Allison Bailes at Energy Vanguard has a great suggestion:
10 Reasons to Buy a Home Energy Audit on Cyber Monday (Okay, it’s not Black Friday but…)
Participate in Buy Nothing Day (for the extreme – but like fasting, it’s good for you):
Here a few of my suggestions from a list that is infinitely longer than going shopping (some of which involve spending, but thoughtful spending):
- Go for a hike
- Make something with your own two hands
- Repair something that’s broken instead of sending it to the landfill
- Volunteer somewhere
- Attend a cultural event
- Don’t shop on Friday and be part of Small Business Saturday
- Play a game with your kids
- Write letters (to love ones, politicians, editors, etc.)
- Make some music