Okay, I am getting buried in ads, emails, and flyers about Black Friday. Isn’t it everyone? Everyone is trying their hardest to entice us by sending the deluge of ‘Don’t miss it!’, ‘Buy now!’, and whatever other messages that will compel people to buy. Buy more. And more. And…yes, more.
But there’s already too much stuff that we have everywhere. Even food, which we now have come to accept only if the shape, size, colour, etc. is correct. And we throw too much food away because it’s ‘imperfect’. I mean, even the audacity of thinking of available food as ‘imperfect’. It’s perhaps not you, and it’s not me, but how have we ended up in this mess?
Do we really need electrical blankets and towel warmers? I mean, okay, you step out of the shower and the towel… well, never mind. It’s ridiculous, of course everyone would now it is. We hear enough about dwindling resources, pollution (air, water, soil), and about the mountains and islands of garbage we keep adding to, shuffling containers full of crap from one continent to another as it that would make them disappear.
Funny enough, the word crap I just above wrote has a blue underline in this draft because maybe, Microsoft Word is gently suggesting, maybe I meant carp or carb. Nope, I meant crap. Now I have all three of them underlined. That is perhaps the moral of the story here. We’re trying to say and act as if we’re good and virtuous. This electronic eyebrow raise I just caused tells me that we don’t like the word. But oh, we do co-exist with it and it is as real as can be.
It so happened that yesterday was the American Thanksgiving. As you may know already, I am a big believer in gratitude. Even when you’re in shambles, gratitude can save your soul in a few different ways. You always come out the other side cleaner (soul-wise), lighter, wiser and more hopeful. It’s the way it is.
If a company tells me how grateful they are for me, and then they slap a don’t miss the Black Friday sale… well, no. That cannot work. It’s a level of conditionality and betrayal I do not tolerate in my relationships. It’s dishonest and it comes as close as can be to emotional blackmail. If you invest emotionally in that, you may say. I do not, but enough people out there do. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real thing, people.
I am still not sure whether it’s my upbringing that’s behind my lack of FOMO (ok, almost lack of FOMO, because you see, there are ways to get even the most detached of us tangled up in various marketing ploys), or my conscious refusal to give into this mad consumerism. Or my increasing concern for my sons’ future, and for all the children of today, born and unborn.
But isn’t Black Friday when people can get things at a discount because they might not be able to afford them at the full price? Okay, but there will be Christmas sales, and Boxing Day sales, and whatever other ‘don’t miss’ sales. And also, there are needs and wants. These major sales appeal to the latter.
Therefore… it’s not what it looks like. A wise man I know once said that there is this question we always have to remember to ask and it’s a simple enough one, but relevant: ‘Who gains?’.
Indeed, who does? You and I don’t, and the society at large doesn’t. Our children don’t. Our environment doesn’t.
Can I end my rant here then, and just leave you with this question. Think of it not as a provocation, but as an opportunity to reflect.