Will you be participating? I have to buy my lunch later today, on account of staying up too late again last night and not getting my ass in gear this morning to throw something together. But other than that? Trying not to do any purchasing. Now, I realize this is more of a movement in the US, where today is known as “Black Friday”, the biggest craziest-ass shopping day of the year. They don’t have Boxing Day in the US, did you know that? So today is the equivalent to our “Boxing Day Blow-Outs”, and what have you. And in case you missed it, last year on Black Friday, a man was trampled to death at a Wal-Mart due to this madness.
We, as a society, are unseeing and unthinking consumers for the most part. Have you ever watched people mindlessly throw shiz into their arms, baskets, etc. at stores? I’m not even talking grocery shopping, where we can all practically do it with our collective eyes closed, but I’m talking everywhere else. People hand over their credit cards without even looking at what it is they’re about to buy. I’m often guilty of it, and when I realize what I’m doing and I stop myself and think. And I try to think back to being little and making my first purchases with my very own money. Poring over details of what I wanted to buy, making comparisons, trying to figure out the very best way to spend my money. Whether I was looking at a record, or a shirt or a book or a chocolate bar, all the options and angles were considered before I handed over my money, because I had earned that money and I sure as hell wasn’t about to throw it away before I’d made damned sure this was exactly what I wanted. So when did that stop? When did we start settling for whatever? Maybe when we had more disposable income? When we started having less time to do the shopping and browsing that we used to do? I’m not sure, but I’m reminded of the early days of being a consumer every time I watch The Musician and The Artist with their own money or a gift card. There is research to be done, people, long before any purchases are made, and while it sometimes takes them forever to decide on something, I love that they put so much thought into it, and I make a mental note to try to do the same as often as possible.
We have started a “one in, one out” policy in our house. Basicially, if you bring something into the house, something you already own has to go. I have found that it’s a good way to determine if you really, really need something, because once you’ve got it in the house, you need to find something to get rid of. The only thing this doesn’t apply to is music, because you know, come on. But a new pair of shoes? A pair you own has to go. For me, it has really heightened my senses while shopping, I feel more conscious and in the moment (at the risk of making shopping sound like some sort of life-affirming experience) and as a result, I am transported back to the simpler shopping days of my youth, which feels pretty damned good.
So for today, even if you do have to make purchases, maybe take the time to consider them before you do. Ask some questions about why you’re buying, and what you hope to get out of your purchase, and how it will make you feel once you’ve bought it and brought it home.
And, can we try really hard not to trample people in the process? Because that would be awesome.