By Mike Aux-Tinee…
Black Friday is three weeks away and the start of the silly season will officially start. Yes, you did read that correctly – I do call it the silly season.
Because people lose their minds and do just down right silly things this time of year. Like sitting outside a store all night just to get the chance, not a guarantee but the chance, to get their hands on a ridiculously low-priced, limited quantity in stock item just so their kid, spouse or other family member’s Christmas will not be ruined.
I wish that kind of effort went into making dinner. If there ever was something that needs attention to ward off being ruined, that would get my vote.
Something else that I find extremely silly; just getting into the stores on Black Friday is down right dangerous. People get trampled, injured and killed. Customers fight each other and people get arrested. There is nothing in the world that is worth getting hurt, killed or arrested over. Whatever it is you want they will make more and if you wait until after Christmas, it will all be on sale again. Trust me. You really have nothing to gain and a lot to lose during all of this nonsense.
What exactly are you losing?
- Money: Retailers hold their breath and wait for this time of year. Because they know people will spend like crazy. After all, who wants to be seen as a Scrooge on Christmas Day? So, off to the malls we march to by something, anything to give as a gift. The retailers will finally make it into the black from sales made during this time. Let’s not forget about the credit card companies. As we all know most people are not paying cash for their purchases and are using their credit cards. The credit card companies are hoping for a brisk spending season and pray you only pay the minimum amount when you send your payment in. So they can sock you with high interest charges on the remaining balance.
- Sleep: So many people walk around all week complaining about not getting enough sleep because of one thing or another. When this time of year rolls around so many people force themselves to wake up at a time their bodies are not used to, load up on caffeine, head out into the cold to wait around some dimly lit parking lot then rush to get in line and move like cattle to the slaughter through the front doors. Come Monday, people are sharing their shopping experiences like badges of honor, while trying to down as much coffee to keep themselves from falling asleep at their desks.
- Dignity & Self respect: When you head out to wait in line for a store to open at oh-dark thirty, you are making a statement. You hold the things you buy in greater esteem. You need to realize things really do not matter. It is our relationships with our family and friends that are the real gifts and our true wealth. There is not a day that goes by I would not like to see my Grandma Lewis just one more time. Even for a few minutes to say how much I miss and love her and I could hear the same from her. There is not a gift in the world that I want more.
Yes. They are the only ones who benefit from Black Friday and the holiday shopping season. You, the shopper and gift giver lose.
Instead of joining the ranks of the mindless, how about you try something else this year?
Adopt a zoo animal: I have adopted my niece and nephew a zoo animal every year they have been alive. She gets a penguin and he gets an African elephant. You can adopt an animal for as little as $25 dollars! I head out to the zoo’s website, find out their process and I get a letter a little while later. The zoo sends them an adoption certificate, photo, a biography of their adopted animal along with an invitation to a parents lunch later than year. The look on their faces when they receive the adoption information is truly priceless.
Donate food to a local food bank: With so many Americans out of work and having trouble providing the basics, many are turning to community resources for help. The local food banks are having trouble meeting the increased requests for help. For the wealthiest country in the world to have its citizens going hungry is absurd. We need to rethink our priorities, stop giving our money away and turn our attention inward and not outward.
Bake your gifts: I have been giving baked goods as gifts, if you want to call them that. Who does not like getting chocolate chip cookies anytime? It is a sure-fire way to cement your status as a really cool dude or dudette when you pass along something that you spent time on. Should you want to elevate your status to that of a baking mega-superstar, give them a cake, pie or other delectable baked goodie.
Just in case you were wondering what my priorities will be on Black Friday, well…
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