Black Friday, Small Biz Saturday, Cyber Monday
Sara here, just tinkering with some ideas about Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and shopping in general.
What did you do with your hard-earned cash after Thanksgiving? If you went shopping, what did you buy and where did you buy it, and why?
I've never been a Black Friday Shopper. The thought of waiting in violence-laced lines for a 1000-inch television or a rare athletic shoe makes me want to curl up and watch the fireplace channel on my regular old normal sized TV, on the couch I got for free from my neighborhood Buy Nothing group a couple of years ago. I'm a proud (sometimes) procrastinator when it comes to purchasing gifts for holidays, and in the past few years, my family has gotten more and more minimalist when it comes to presents. Both of my parents say 'I don't need anything, don't buy me anything'; my sister, who works so incredibly hard for everything she has, says 'I'm so sorry, I'm going to have to send you baked goods again this year'. Which is NOT a downgrade - I love her home-made treats, and they make my whole household incredibly happy. Isn't that all we really need?
When I was a child, I loved giving gifts, but of course I had no income, so I used the supplies around the house to create presents for everyone in my family. I remember one year finding a bunch of popsicle sticks (or were they tongue depressors from my mom's nursing days?), and I fashioned picture frames, boats, even a small house. In my family, we cut way down on wrapping paper - instead favoring re-usable pieces of cloth from my mom's collection for quilting, or sarongs I purchased while in Madagascar, held together with ribbons or safety pins. Why purchase something that immediately becomes garbage? Because we're told, from a young age, to be good little consumers, and this is how it's done.
Throughout my life, it seems that I've been continually trying to buy less, and yet I feel this ticklish pressure to buy more - and as the quality of so many items lessens, it has actually become necessary to replace them at a faster rate.
When we lived in Seattle, our neighborhood was made up of families with kids of a variety of ages - and the local Buy Nothing group was extremely active. Things no longer needed were posted and freely given, and things that were needed could be requested - it's an incredible way to reuse and recycle. Trash to treasure. The Buy Nothing culture doesn't exist everywhere, though it is a growing movement (and it really helps build community resilience as people get to know their neighbors!).
So what's my point here? Just that I want my purchases to matter - and I want the things that I buy to last beyond the point that I'm finished using them, and I want to be able to make smart decisions with transparent information about the people and companies who are making those things.