Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday and the Holiday Shopping Season-The Philosopher and the Capitalist

Black Friday is the day that a mass of Christmas shoppers line the store fronts in search of hard fought treasures. This year Black Friday is being stretched from Thursday evening till the end of business on Saturday. Crowds are not so heavy, consumers not so excited, and sales over the entire season will be a better determinant of retail success. Whether you are standing in line or buying over the net consider what Black Friday means to you.

Changes in days are not the only differences you will notice this year. The crowds are a little thinner and there have been a few more protests over excessive consumerism. People simply are not buying everything they can this year and are instead focusing on those big ticket items that save them money; assuming that buying these items are necessary. Many others are skipping the crazy shopping madness and instead searching for their products online.

The problem with Black Friday is not the deals or even the interest. The problem lies in how people rely on buying as many products as possible to show their interest in others. Lots of products and expensive gifts are not the only activity on the menu. Consider the time you spend with others and the memories. Instead of crashing through the door maybe you should take your family out, get lunch, and go shopping together.

The anti-consumer culture crowd came out this year to teach us the value of Thanksgiving. I applaud them for their efforts and the philosopher in me thinks in many ways they are right. I refused to stand in line or worry about whether or not I get a specific expensive item on my "Santa List". Instead, I decided to make shopping this year stretched out over a few months.

Black Friday does act as a marker for holiday season sales. The theory is that if Black Friday goes well then the rest of the year will also go well. Throughout much of the year retailers don't make much money and most of their income is allocated to paying bills and overhead. Black Friday and the holiday season is a time when many turn their red line into a black line for the year.

The capitalist in me hopes the retailers do well and positive consumer sentiment of late fosters higher sales. Retailers are an important part of the economy. They take manufactured products, built from raw materials, and sent to locations by drivers, that are put up on shelves by store workers. This equates to employment, employment, employment. Even Scrooge could understand the connection between employment and bread on Tiny Tim's plate.

Whether your a philosopher or a capitalist, or a little of both, you can appreciate the value of holiday shopping and the meaning of the holidays to a great many people. Perhaps if we focus on what is important to us, and the people we love, we can still enjoy buying products and keeping the spirit of the Holiday Season alive.  Next year shop throughout the year, look for deals, save up your money, and enjoy more of the holiday season doing what you want. Good luck and happy hunting.

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