Check this out:
“By Barbara Goldberg
NEW YORK | Sat Nov 26, 2011 4:41am EST
(Reuters) – Black Friday turned into a black mark against American shoppers as riotous crowds brawled over video games, waffle irons and towels, drawing international condemnation and even raising questions about the state of humanity.”
SMH! (For those not familiar with Twitter and Facebook shorthand jargon, smh means “Shaking my head.”)
I just watched a YouTube video of people shoving and pulling each other over $1.88 towels. I read how a woman pepper sprayed unsuspecting midnight shoppers just so she could be the first to grab the newest XBox game. New York deal seekers, upset that that Hollister wasn’t opening for late-night shopping, broke in to the store and took what they wanted. The list continues with a grandfather being shoved to the ground at a Walmart right in front of his grandson, and people stepping on each other as they fought over $2 waffle irons.
I am having trouble untangling my myriad of emotions over all of this. The gamut runs from sadness to pity; from embarrassment to anger. I’m scratching my head and wondering what lessons of civility, politeness, or common courtesy could any of these adults honestly teach their children? Do people really have nothing better to do at midnight? Are people so eager to save a buck that they’d sell their human decency…and the safety of others…for a bargain? Have we become so shallow that clearance rack merchandise affirms our worth and defines our social status?
When is enough truly enough for us? Are these desperate shoppers not reading the news to understand how blessed we really are? Is their newspaper subscription merely for the comics, coupons and crossword puzzles? Don’t they know how good we have it in this country? Haven’t they read that in Eastern Congo, a place many are calling the rape capital of the world, 48 women are raped every hour? Don’t they know that six million children die annually due to malnourishment and hunger? In fact nearly 16,000 children died of starvation on Black Friday alone while we stampeded, hoarded, bargained and shoved our way into the gift-giving season. Shouldn’t we have spent midnight sitting (or kneeling) and giving thanks for our lives, families, health and freedoms? If community leaders held midnight rallies across the country to protest world hunger, unemployment, rape, child sex trafficking or racial profiling, how do you think those crowds would have compared to the midnight shopping crowds?
I think that we’ve misinterpreted the meaning of this season. Aren’t we supposed to be gentler, and more considerate this time of year? Has stuff become more important than people? Doesn’t anyone still make gifts, bake cookies or design homemade gift certificates today? This season should be about love and togetherness. Can we please work together to restore that ideal? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good bargain when I can find them. But, I have simply discovered two important shopping tips: 1.) Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. 2.) Don’t go Christmas shopping when you’re empty. You always lose when you violate either of these principles.
Please, let’s realize that what our loved ones want is more of us and not more from us. Let’s avoid the temptation of shallow gift-giving that proves nothing and costs way too much. Think of ways to spend time with loved ones; cook for loved ones; help loved ones with cleaning projects; teach a loved one a special skill that you have; watch a movie and share laughs and stories with loved ones. Life can be real tough for people this time of year. No one, on their death bed, wishes for more stuff. They wish for more time to give and receive love. You and I have that time right now…and that’s a gift! Share it wisely.
It is obvious that Americans know how to find great bargains, but at what price to our humanity and to our souls?