The morality of Black Friday
Following the Call
Two women spot the jacket at the same time. It's the last one: leather, high-quality, ultra-low price. Shoving their way through the people, one grabs the sleeve while the other holds onto the main body. Neither surrenders. Screaming, they yank it back and forth like children fighting over a toy.
Security officers finally arrive, and both women are escorted out of the store. Neither end up with the jacket; it goes to a bystander. It's still in beautiful condition–except for the deep claw marks down the sleeve.
You gotta love Black Friday.
The history of the day reaches back into the 1950s. Once the clock struck midnight, it seemed Christmas took off with a running start. Santa appeared in Macy's. Scores of employees, scheduled to work Friday, mysteriously fell "sick." Traffic backed up for blocks as shoppers filled the stores.
Today, things have changed a bit. Christmas starts before Thanksgiving. Many employees get Friday off. Parking lots have expanded. People get up at 2 a.m. to wait in line. Adults act like children. Courtesy is forgotten.
We must really care about our loved ones.
I'm sure plenty of people exist out there who really do care about family and friends in their shopping. Waking up at 3 a.m. in order to obtain a desired gift for a price you can afford is noble. Getting Christmas shopping done early is wise. Having the patience to wait in line and deal with all the crazy people makes you not much less than a saint.
But how much of the population is really that selfless?
In a 2013 poll conducted by DealNews, 44 percent of Black Friday shoppers indicated they planned to buy things primarily for themselves. 44 percent! Almost half. No wonder we're fighting over jackets.
Sacrifice is a little easier when it's done for ourselves. We'll spend hours waiting in line for a new TV. We'll shell out several hundred dollars to get newer electronics. We'll settle for three hours of sleep before heading out into the crowds.
But what about the all-night prayer meeting at church that needs people to take shifts? We can't afford to miss our sleep. What about the church's financial crisis, needing an extra $5,000 to make it? We just don't have any money to help. What about the community member who needs help moving as the holidays start? There's no way to fit it into our week.
As we head into the holidays, Black Friday in particular, let's remember to open our eyes.
Is my focus on me, or is it on God? Am I using my resources to pursue my own happiness, or am I trying to bring it to others? Do I value my family more, or something that’ll be antiquated in a few years?
Maybe I’ll let her have the jacket.
Ginger Hany is a senior studying biomedical science.