(Un)Common Sense for Black Friday
Yes, the most wonderful day for shoppers is only a couple of days away. Countdown has begun in multiple websites. Increasingly, BF (Black Friday) is becoming a common point of conversation for many these past few weeks. In light of our mass movement towards this Friday, I thought I would share a few thoughts that may help us keep things in perspective.
First of all, I don’t think there’s anything inherently evil with sales as long as they are not products made by unethical companies. Secondly, wisdom is usually found in the middle of two extremes. In this case, one extreme would be to buy everything one sees while the other would be to ignore some great deals that might allow one to consume more wisely.
So, before you shop, I offer the following words of common sense advice:
- Plan Ahead and Minimize Compulsive Shopping
- Many websites already have their sales advertisement up. Take time to do a little research and plan out your shopping experience. Considering what to buy ahead time can help minimize last minute compulsive purchases. Many compulsive purchases are often excesses and unnecessary. There’s nothing wrong of using this day to get great deals on products you actually need. I think that’s smart. Ask yourself, “Do I really need this or is this simply luxury?” Consider all of the other things you could be investing your money in (more to come below).
- Consider Who You Are Buying From
- As conscious consumers, we must stay aware of who we are purchasing from. I am more than willing to pay a little extra for a product if I know a company to be ethical in production. Our consumption must parallel our convictions and values. Does it take time to research? Of course. Nevertheless, if you believe in the dignity of all humanity, it’s well worth the effort. Check out a list of the 99 Most Ethical Companies for 2009 by clicking here (This does appear slightly bias, but still helpful.). You can also visit Global Exchange for information about Fair Trade.
- Consider Alternatives for Good
- Consider stepping back and taking a look at the needs of people in our cities and around the world. How much more stuff do we really need (as opposed to want)? I don’t say this to make you feel guilty. Rather, I would like for all of us, especially in affluent countries like America, to intentionally make room to care for people who could really use our help this holiday season.
- Here are some simple ideas for generosity this holiday season:
- Consider spending less and giving more. Partner with a reputable charity by volunteering, giving, and telling others about their great work. Most organizations would love your help. These tireless groups are working year-round to help people all over the world. Allow this natural season of care become a catalyst for year-round support. In addition, viral movements like Advent Conspiracy, Junky Car Club, and Gift Card Giver seek to invite us to spend less so we can give more.
- Stop to engage conversation with people in your neighborhood. Let’s not rush past each other. Slow down. Find ways to practical encourage and bless those around us. Buy coffee or a meal for a friend or stranger. Listen to the pain some are experiencing this holiday season. The reality is that for many, this season painfully reminds them of personal loss and deepens their sense of loneliness. Become a source of love and friendship. Often times, conversations and friendships go much further than any physical gift you can give.
- If you have kids, use this season to model and teach generosity. For example, we’ve created a family tradition to receive less gifts and in turn, have asked our friends and family to give towards efforts that our kids would like to support. Our hope is that our kids would grow up with a sensitivity and posture towards helping humanity.
In closing, what are some ways that you will alter your spending in order to benefit humanity? Love to hear your thoughts on this matter.
Also, here’s a funny video from Buckhead Church about Black Friday! Enjoy.