I know I promised a dessert recipe today, but we've been talking a lot about Thanksgiving. I'm sure by now you know it's my favorite holiday. All the while, I've been ignoring my least favorite holiday - Black Friday.
An entire day devoted to consumerism. Let that sink in. It's devoted to stuff. If every other holiday wasn't already about stuff, you now have a holiday that's not even masquerading under the guise of another reason. It's about stuff.
America doesn't have a national religion. But, if it did - it'd be consumerism.
I have never participated in the Black Friday madness, and I never will. It's shocking to me that we spend the day or even month being thankful for what we have then we cut dinner short to run out and buy new stuff. We bum-rush stores, rip things out of peoples hands, push and shove, and wait in line for hours for things we probably don't need.
I want to be clear. There's nothing wrong with consumption. We will always need to consume goods. But, there is a problem with mass consumerism. And, it's an even larger problem that our economy hinges on us buying more and more and more and more without ever examining who suffers. Spoiler: it's you, me, production, and the economy.
In order to keep consumer rates high, we have driven down prices by making cheaper and cheaper products. We have cut jobs, and outsourced all of the production to keep labor costs at an all time low. We make goods that break easily that need to consistently be replaced. We are bombarded with lies, "If you have this, you'll be happy," "If you you obtain this, you'll get the girl," "If you buy this, you'll be beautiful."
And, it's never enough.
We have lost all connection with who makes our food, who makes our goods, who we're buying from, and how it was created. We have no idea how this product arrived, and it's a huge problem. We need to start thinking about how it got here and where it's going after you're finished with it. Think beyond the present. Think beyond that Black Friday sale.
Unfortunately, society today has made it almost impossible to know who's behind your products. Shop locally as much as possible. Buy used when you can, and look to companies who are completely transparent about what you're buying.
Look at buying quality over quantity. Focus on things that will last. How many of your kids really need more toys? How many of you really need more clothes? How many of you really need a larger TV? How many of you really need cheap stuff, manufactured on slave labor, used to line the pockets of greedy CEO's?
I'm not saying everything you buy is bad. I just want you to think about what you're buying. I don't want you to mindlessly consume: to constantly be looking to upgrade, to consistently work to only be able to keep your head above water in our consumerist society, to feel like you have to keep up. That you have to buy the nicest car, the biggest house, to have newest game system, to have the nicest watch - whatever it is. Stuff doesn't rule your life. No matter what message is blasted in your face - it doesn't define your value.
Ask yourself, is it worth it? Is your consumption worth it? Are you happy? Does it make you happy?
I'll be coming out with several zero waste Christmas lists and ideas; because, I hate it when someone presents a problem with no solution.