Thursday, November 29, 2012

The shopping games

Black Friday is a battle to the death

By Anna Sieber, Columnist

    On Thanksgiving, we express gratitude for all of the wonderful things in our lives. Yet, just hours later, people trample each other in an effort to get even more things for which they can be thankful.
    Black Friday has become an infamous day in our nation because of its mass crowds, door-buster deals and its general reputation for consumer chaos. It seems that in the past years, the number of violent incidents—including deaths—have increased greatly.
    Instead of Black Friday, it should be called The Shopping Games, where everyone volunteers as tributes and throws themselves into the shopping arena to maul each other to death in pursuit of getting the best price.
    Every year, there are reports of deaths or hospitalizations due to people’s determination to score the best deals. This winter splurge has reached new levels of insanity.
    But beyond Black Friday, there is this bizarre attitude toward the accumulation of ‘Stuff’. It has become a sort of event. People wait in line at superstores to get their CDs the moment they drop, wait outside for the new iPhone to become available and, of course, wait in bated anticipation for sales to start.
The culture of our society has reached new lows if spending money and getting more things has become an actual pastime.
    Perhaps this means that we are simply impatient to get that new thing. We are, after all, the society of immediate gratification.
    One would think that we would be satisfied with our ‘Stuff’ by now, rather than this bizarre quest for more and more things. Perhaps we could be happy with what we have.
    However, as we too often judge a person’s worth based on their material status, it is logical that we would feel driven to spend like there is no tomorrow.
    It does not seem there is one perfect, easy solution to something like this beyond changing the mentality in America. And the only way to change that mentality is to reject it, which does not seem to be happening anytime soon.
    We have an economy based on consumption, thus we have a society based on consumption. Therefore it is difficult to say, “Stop shopping—it’s bad for the soul” when our already crumbling economy depends on it.
    It is just so sad that some people actually thrive off of buying more and more things that it is a hobby.
    People need to remember to be thankful for what they have, and not just on Thanksgiving night. That grateful feeling needs to last more than a few hours.