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Buddhism in the News

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday Earns Its Name.

(PHOTO: Crowds push through doorway on Black Friday to buy products on sale)

As man of you know yesterday was Thanksgiving Day in America, which is a day when friends and family come together to celebrate all the things that they are thankful for during the past year. It has also become an orgy of eating as much food as can possibly eaten. I myself find it odd to be thankful for having food to eat and then engorge yourself on more food than necessary when a good portion of that food could have been donated to homeless shelters.

Well given America's great lust for buying and owning "things" the day after Thanksgiving (today) has turned into what people call "Black Friday." Black is the term used to describe when a company/business makes a profit, (red being losing money) and Friday being the day after Thanksgiving, which is the busiest shopping day of the year. There are often great deals on this day with retailers offering many products at much lower prices. This often creates long lines of people who are looking to buy up these discounted products and people often wait over-night for the stores to open. It's considered the official start of the Christmas/Chanukkah shopping season.

Black is also a traditional color of mourning the death of friends and family.

This year there was one store where the crowd was so large and built up pressing on the doors that the store clerk was trampled and killed by the stampeding crowd racing to snatch up the discounted items!! AND a pregnant woman was injured so bad that she miscarried her child!!

(UPDATE: Two people were killed by gunshots at a Toys R Us toy store in California. Two teen-age girls were seen fighting over something in the electronics area of the store when a third person who accompanied one of the girls fired a gun).

There is no better example of the kind of suffering that is created through greed then these tragic story. So much of the stuff we buy ends up tossed in the trash bin after a few months of enjoyment of these products before moving on to the next gadget. We have literally become a throw away society, which now apparently includes life. We are willing to put the lives of others in danger for just the possibility of "happiness" through money and gadgets.

But it's not about denying myself of all gadgets and "things" but rather finding that glorious middle-way, which allows enjoying some of what the world has to offer yet with moderation. I, nor anyone else I know needs something so bad that I will line up at 3a.m. with a rowdy, pushy, selfish crowd of people willing to jostle, shove and apparently trample others to buy up the store. It is extremely sad that the Christmas gift giving tradition once being a way to remember and learn to give to others as those who gave gifts to Jesus upon his supposed birth did has turned into this animalistic tradition of mayhem and greed.

I try my best to be happy with what I have and to be responsible in what I buy and how I buy it. I find it sickeningly ironic to push someone out of the way and fight over products and position in line to bring some happiness to your child, friend or brother. It's making someone else suffer so that you can bring just the possibility of a little happiness to someone else. Is it really worth it? Not to me. I prefer people wanting to buy me something to donate to a charity in my name.

~Peace to all beings~

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12 comments:

StatMama said...

I always enjoy your blogs, but this one especially. Well said.

Carla said...

*sigh*

I can't believe what I just read. I thought the Christmas rush was apalling here in the UK. That's just awful.

Modern Girl said...

I couldn't agree more. This is terrible. There's a bit of a Christmas rush here in Canada, but nothing to that extreme. This weekend, many stores have "midnight madness" or early sales that are only Saturday morning.

Thankfully, I have all my holiday purchases completed and I'm not inclined to participate.

Tom said...

*Sigh* Guess I should worry less about the economy and more about people's graspiness. BUY LESS STUFF, but, yes, as James says, don't buy nothing. Find the happy middle.

They call him James Ure said...

StatMama:

Thank-you.

Carla:

It really has gotten out of control. People dying over objects is madness.

Modern Girl:

Our family (for the most part) has decided to just stop the gift buying aspect of the holidays. And instead focus upon the gift of time. Spending time together.

Tom:

The middle-way has done so much for me.

EZG said...

I really despise the whole Black Friday event. My family is from North Carolina and the whole day is becoming a disgusting southern tradition. I have disturbed relatives with housefulls of useless junk that they don't even use and yet they will go out on Black Friday and buy hundreds of dollars of Walmart garbage.

I can't even say anything to them, as they're convinced that they're "really getting a great deal."

I always try and take part of Buy Nothing Day on Black Friday but I always manage to have to buy gas or something and fail.

I wonder if this culture of excess is really going to continue the sick way it is going. At least the high gas prices convinced many to start driving greener cars. I thought resession would cut back on the Black Friday nonsense but I guess it didn't stop that girl from getting shot.

< /soapbox >

Dhamma81 said...

The news in Orlando said folks were waiting 48 hours for certain items. That means they had to waste Thanksgiving while camping in a parking lot so they could get the 400 dollar laptop at officemax or whatever it was.

They call him James Ure said...

EZG:

Yeah we hardly even emerge from the house on Black Friday--even to rent a movie.

Dhamma81:

Yeah it's ironic that people use Thanksgiving (the day of giving thanks for what you have) for being greedy to get MORE.

Netizen101 said...

The ugly side of Human Nature. Sad, really. But that's life.

forest wisdom said...

Very well said James.

Chase said...

And they say we're in a Depression.
I say we're just depressing.

Searching for Balance,
-Chase
A Friendly Drifter..

They call him James Ure said...

Chase:

Depressing is right. We as a species aren't living up to our societal potential. Image what we could accomplish if we set our collective minds and talents together?!

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