Why I Won’t Be Shopping On Black Friday

Every year, families across the country gather in their elastic waistband pants at perfectly set dinner tables to gorge themselves on turkey and mashed potatoes until there’s no more room left in their stomachs. For some, after a few hours of digestion, we find ourselves standing in line waiting for a department store to open its doors. We just finished overeating and now we move on to overspending. It doesn’t end there. As a society, we‘ve decided that consumerism should never end there. There are multiple times throughout the year where Americans are conditioned to spending hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. But this one day out of the year is particularly the worst. Consumerism and unnecessary spending has turned this day into a battle. People brawl over items in a store that they could get any time of the year. They just want it now because it’s a few bucks cheaper. This holiday is known as Black Friday, and this year, I won’t be going shopping.

Take a look around your house today and consider how many things you own. How many books on your bookshelf have gone unread for more than 5 years? How much dust has gathered on your knick knacks? In fact, when was the last time you looked at your knick knacks and appreciated them being there? Our culture has deemed it acceptable to own a bunch of clutter that we don’t need or use. We have over pieces of clothing in our closets at home, yet we still go shopping for more. Why?

Consumerism is a black hole, feeding on our wants and ignoring our needs. We allow greed and desires to control our actions on a daily basis. On Black Friday, we unleash the demon of economic materialism onto others as we fill the aisles of Target and Best Buy, racing to get our hands on the 50% of tablets and the $199 Playstation 4. By the way, that’s a great price for a PlayStation 4! Maybe you should get two.

I am a minimalist. No, my apartment is not white walls and pale wood floors with one small cactus sitting on a black end table. I live in a crummy apartment that’s in need of repairs. My shirts are not all one color. I own a variety of patterns and textures in my wardrobe. I even have a string of photographs along one of my bedroom walls. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing room in the house, but it makes me happy. I come home and there is never any clutter. My space does not get messy. The only thing I accumulate are dirty coffee cups on my end table when I’m writing an essay for school.

The point of minimalism is understanding that materialistic things do not provide happiness. By owning and shopping less, we can find a much larger peace in ourselves. This Christmas, instead of giving my family a bunch of useless gifts that will end up at the thrift store or in a box in the attic, I’ll be giving meaningful and useful gifts. I’ll be opting for less materialistic gifts, like bath bombs and bars of local, handmade soap.

This Black Friday, I won’t be in the stores. I’ll be at work for most of my day. Afterwards, I’ll go home and have a homemade pumpkin spice latte from syrup that my mom made. I’ll be sending out emails to my friends and coworkers wishing them a Merry Christmas rather than mailing out 100 wastes of paper that’ll just be thrown away. I’ll be handing down some of my favorites books as gifts to the readers in my family. I might even make some sugar scrubs and put them in reusable jars as gifts for extended family. Instead of buying useless toys for your children and more long socks for your partner, do things differently this Black Friday. Don’t buy anything. Find a truly useful and meaningful item. Give someone tickets to a show they’ve wanted to see. Buy experiences, not material things. Make your own gifts. Don’t let consumerism win once again.

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