If you’ve been within 20 feet of a radio or television in the last month, you probably don’t need me to point out that today is “Black Friday,” the day when retailers count on Americans to be good little consumers, rush out and buy for the Christmas season, and save the retailers’ bacon.
This has always conflicted me. As a frugal shopper, I find it hard to resist the sales. I have a friend who goes shopping early on this day every year, waits for the doors to open, then goes straight to the socks, which she buys for the whole family this one single day of the year, when they’re as cheap as they’ll ever be. That’s good planning, guerrilla consumerism that assesses a weakness, exploits it, and gets out unscathed.
As an idealist, I want to boycott the sales altogether. I don’t want to begin my holiday season with a frantic, early morning orgy of spending. No matter how good the sales, I almost always stay home. I don’t like crowds, I don’t want to leave home in the afterglow of the sacred Thanksgiving observance. I also know that I will be less likely to buy extra or unneeded items if I’m faced with the normal retail price rather than massive discounts. In the end, entropy falls on the side of idealism, so idealism wins!
In recent years, however, there are broad hints that rampant consumerism is patriotism. The whole economic mess will straighten right out if we little people would simply come to our senses and plunge back into debt again. I’ve never bought that argument before, and I’m not falling for it this year. If anyone dares to impugn my patriotism, I will simply ask, “what’s helping the economy more, buying at deep discounts, or full retail?”
It’s not much of an argument, but hopefully that’ll make them stop and think long enough that they’ll leave me alone.
On a more serious note, please do as much of your shopping as possible in your neighborhood, locally-owned stores. Your friends and neighbors are most likely hurting, and need your support!