Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black Friday or a Green Friday?

Black Friday seems to be the new unofficial American holiday.  I cannot imagine what other nations think about us when we claim to be so thankful one day, and the next day we stand in long lines waiting to barge into stores...only to add more to the pile.

Oh, I know, there are huge arguments that this is the one day of the year when the merchants can make their yearly profits.  But, at whose expense?  The media encourages us to get out there and shop and spend money to keep the economy going.  Whoa!  Let's back up here.  Why should the responsibility of saving the economy be placed on we who have the least money to spend in the first place?  The corporates sold our American economy.  We didn't.  Why are we asked to open our billfolds to help them build more massive mansions, buy longer yachts, and open more foreign bank accounts? 

We Americans are too easily duped into thinking we're saving money on these sales.  There's such high mark-ups in the first place, I doubt they're giving the shopper any great shakes.  It's my opinion that the merchants lure us into their stores with these delicious sales, and once they have us in their fish bowl.....well, we're going to eat carts full of their bait. And, we do. 

What if we turned Black Friday into Green Friday?    Instead of giving our children "big expensive gadgets," maybe we should give simple items along with teaching them some of our special talents.  I read one really neat suggestion.....give a child a wooden spoon and a bowl, tie a note onto the spoon that gives them an afternoon alone with Gramma baking cookies.  Or, how about taking them to a concert, play or sporting event?  This might sound cheesy to some, but this kind of gift grows bigger and bigger as the child grows.  The memorable experience itself will get exaggerated and embellished.  He/she will never forget it.

Young families are having a hard time making ends meet, mainly because our society aims for a lifestyle that doesn't equal the paychecks.  No one wants to back up and take the road that leads to a more moderate way of living, but why not?  I think we'd all be surprised at the number who would follow suit, if only someone would make the first move. 

Going Green is a sure way to bring America back to the fundamentals.  Toys and devices do not make children happy.  They bring a satisfaction that is short-lived.  We go to garage sales where driveways are filled with tables of toys. The kids could care less that the parents are getting rid of them.

Bottom line:  We'd all be happy to spend our money for merchandise with labels that read "Made in America."  American parents are getting laid off and losing their jobs only because the corporates don't care.  All they see is enormous dollar signs.  More for them.  Less for the average American.  We are a profoundly powerful country.  No one could ever convince me that we couldn't turn this economy problem around if we simply brought our jobs back home, put our own people to work, and for god sake get rid of the enormous hand-outs that are depleting every worthwhile fund that we've worked so hard to establish.  There's definitely a deficit in America.  But the little guy hasn't caused it.  The big boys have.  Let's not get snookered in by their slick strategies.