Black (Green) Friday and A Culture of Consumerism

19 Dec

shopping mallcon·sum·er·ism –

1.  a modern movement for the protection of the consumer against useless, inferior, or dangerous products, misleading advertising, unfair pricing, etc.

2.  the concept that an ever-expanding consumption of goods is advantageous to the economy.

3.  the fact or practice of an increasing consumption of goods: a critic of American consumerism.

That’s the definition of consumerism via www.dictionary.com.

It seems that people, especially the day after Thanksgiving here in the US, are really, really excited about it. This year marks the first, at least that I can remember, that stores opened early the evening of Thanksgiving, some as early as 5 and 6 pm-prime turkey time.

This raised a LOT of questions, boycotting, people choosing not to shop at these stores at all and millions upon millions in record breaking revenue in a very short amount of time. For some it also raised the question, is this an attack on the family?

As a Christian and someone that recognizes issues with my own faith from time to time, I really struggled with whether to shop on turkey night or not.  If it was an attack in the family, then I would choose to stay home and fight the lesser crowds on Friday with family as normal. If it wasn’t the attack on my foundational beliefs, then maybe it would be ok to go after all?

It doesn’t matter what I decided to do, or what others decided to do. I do believe it’s less about corporate America attacking the family and more about the condition of greed in the hearts of a sinful human nature.

What stands out to me is that we are missing the root issue.

Black (or Green) Friday as we know it is part of our holiday culture. The stores aren’t attacking our family by opening their doors 6 hours early for our “must haves”, they ARE responding to our demands the rest of the year.

We need to work on is our consumerist nature. One that consumes and consumes all year long, one that is almost constantly plugged in, quite literally.

How many black Friday sell out items were hard-copy books or hiking shoes? None that I’ve heard of. Tablets, Apple products and TV’s topped the list. There’s nothing wrong with those things, but we need moderation.

I did shop on Thanksgiving night for about 30 mins. I saw and overheard things I couldn’t believe. Friday was just as crazy, even in the afternoon when I went out.

I speak this as a guilty consumerist with the best motives.  

Brandon Pachey

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Brandon Pachey is the husband of an amazing wife and father of three awesome kids, hoping to adopt for the first time soon. He has lived all over the United States in six different states and Germany. He has worked in Youth Ministry as a volunteer for 13 years (3 as a full time volunteer youth pastor) and done ministry in Germany with military students and US Military Men’s Ministry. He looks periodically at the funny things the church does and faith in day to day life on For the Love of God Too. He also has a passion for off-roading as a family sport.

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