Consumer craze

Seated around a long dining room table, a middle class family prepares for a private Thanksgiving meal. They sit, talk for a bit, only until the mom decides to ask the question, “What are you thankful for?”

The family goes quiet, all thinking about the posed question. They look up once they make a decision. A general agreement that they all were thankful for one another and for all that they have in their lives.

Around 11 p.m. that night, the family finds themselves together again, but this time in a department store. Huddled in a circle, they strategize to best take advantage of the sales about to drop. Dad and Mom rush off, the kids scatter in their given directions. Mom snatches an item from the hands of another woman, whose somewhat inappropriate response is to pull the ponytail of the mom and whip her down. Sure, the dad might have overreacted when he punched the lady, forcing her to let go of the hair. But should they really be detained with their children, who bit many, maybe even too many people?

That might be a bit extreme, but not unheard of on Black Friday. Early in the day, families state what they are most thankful for, only to later forego those feelings and battle for the best deals.

Now, spend your entire minimum wage paycheck on gummy bears and fruit loops for all I care–I mean that is basic capitalism and free-market enterprise in all its glory. What’s more American than hypocritical consumerism? I would feel a bit better defending Black Friday if we could just be honest at Thanksgiving meals. When asked “What are you most thankful for?” I wish one person would come out and say, “I’m most thankful for Black Friday-turned-Black-Thursday deals and mindless-consumerism.” Most of the purchases on Black Friday are not for gifts or spirit of giving. Instead is the best deal that one can find.

That isn’t likely to happen, but I remain hopeful. If I wasn’t tied to my minimum wage job on Black Thursday, I might consider joining. Trading away sleep and money,  family time was well spent… punching and clawing for products made in China. Instead of actually spending their time together, playing board games or even just sitting around enjoying each other.They could spend this time volunteering at the soup kitchen or ring bells for the Salvation Army. Maybe that could work out a bit better than fighting strangers for discounted products.

Maybe that’s just me.