In the mad rush during the past couple days at work, many thoughts crossed my mind, with being caught up in the raging sea of mindless consumerism. Working in retail, being so dependent on constant face to face interaction with people, usually presents many challenges, but when these Black Friday sales hit, let’s just say it’s like being caught in a tempest. So, here, in random order are the things I thought about at work the past few days.
American consumerism, in all its meticulously researched and sales-tested, naked state, ranks as mindless, base, disgusting and deeply disturbing. Why do people who complain that they can’t pay their bills or don’t have enough money for the basics, squander their very limited resources for intrinsically useless stuff rather than hold on to it for the necessities?
On a day devoted to thanking God for the many blessings in our lives, it seems repugnant (to me at least), to rush to stores before the day is even done and push, shove, even taser your way to grab stuff, as if your very life depended on its acquisition? Oh, yeah, it’s all about acquiring this stuff for gifts for others – yep, it’s for Christmas…. , where we celebrate God sending us a Savior (a gift). Where I work, the Marines set up a large drop box for donations of toys, which they hand out to needy children every year. The box at my store was empty when I left work late Thursday evening. We had a few scuffles with unruly customers getting physical in their mad struggles over sales merchandise, nothing that made the news, but still disturbing when considering each year the stories that do make the news get more violent and absurd. Where I work the scuffles are usually over cheap junk items, not over TVs or some pricey item – fighting over some cheap set of bed sheets and that type of under $10 merchandise.
Of course, I noticed more than one shopping cart filled with small children, with their bare feet dangling (not even socks on their feet) or a jacket on their back, in the cold (it dipped below freezing here), yet these parents madly rushed about to fill their shopping carts with assorted toys, although I noticed not a pair of socks or a warm coat among their purchases.
As I watched the throng race to and fro, in mindless pursuit of stuff, well I thought about all the stuff I already have and decided I need to start paring down rather than acquiring more stuff, which I don’t need and start worrying about the stuff in my life that does matter. I thought we would be so much better off if we put this kind of energy into the stuff in our lives that should matter, our relationships, helping others, trying to improve ourselves. And on the material front, the stuff I do have, well, I would like to find time to work on my needlework and crafting, and even I gave a thought to buying some lovely specialty yarns they had in a big bin, but I resisted. I bought some last year at this annual sale and still haven’t used it. Of course, I notice there were no books included in the sale and anyway, if you want to find the one spot, where any time, day or night, there’s never a crowd, go to the books section of my store… yep, America, the land with plenty of stuff…. just not the right stuff.