While some have been out since before sunrise to scoop up bargains and begin their holiday shopping, I am going to adhere to a small but growing movement that has taken Black Friday and turned it into something smarter and less stressful: Buy Nothing Day.
In the Western World, especially in the Unites States, we consume and throw away an obscene amount of stuff. The Internet video called "The Story of Stuff" does a nice job demonstrating how unsustainable our current path is. Buy Nothing Day attempts to ween us from our corporate-marketing driven impulse to collect more stuff -- of at least the day symbolically highlights the issue at a time when Americans are hitting the malls and commercial sites online.
One of the problems that is currently facing our financial system is that many people in this country are in debt. With our SUVs, plasma TVs, iPods, cell phones and all kinds of other gadgets, we are eating up the planet's resources, poisoning our environment and burying ourselves in debt. On top of that, some people went out and bought houses that they couldn't afford.
As I said, today is symbolic -- so don't shoot me if you see me out getting an espresso (I will not, however, be at any mall, big-box retailer, chain store, etc., for now or the foreseeable future) -- but it's what we do day-to-day and throughout the year that matters. I personally have a number of things I do to live a less throwaway life, but I will let today serve as motivation to do even more.
Update: On Long Island a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death by the savage crowd that entered the store at 5 a.m. Meanwhile, in Southern California, two men killed each other when a gun battle broke out in a Toys R Us. Looks like the holiday spirit is upon us.
I saw a woman who had been waiting outside a store since Thursday afternoon the Newshour last night, and she said that her family was angry with her for missing Thanksgiving dinner, but she felt that shopping for bargains was more important. Consumerism has robbed many of us of our humanity.