Culture At Large

Black Friday, Blame Monday

Jerod Clark

The Friday after Thanksgiving is usually one of the busiest shopping days of the year in the US.  This year, despite terrible economic conditions, Black Friday spending was up 3%.  As many of you may have seen in the headlines, the rush to buy discounted TV's, computers and other things lead to the trampling death of Jdimypai Damour, a Wal-Mart seasonal employee in Long Island, NY.

Now, several days later, everyone is still looking for someone to blame.  Some point to the media saying they're the ones who hype up the busy shopping day.  Others blame retailers who send out massive fliers to attract thousands of shoppers, but don't spend a dime of security to control the crowds.  In New York, legislators are already crafting laws that would require stores to invest in security to control the mobs.

Beyond all of the blame, how about we take a look at our consumption craved culture.   We measure our treasure here on earth and don't think about making deposits in our heavenly bank account.

For all of it's down sides, I'm not saying Black Friday is necessarily a bad thing.  I'm sure plenty of Christians were in the crowds looking for a bargain.  My parents go because they think they can find the cheapest prices on things they were going to buy as presents anyway.  When I was a reporter, for some reason I was always assigned to cover the early morning shopping mayhem.  I've seen the crowds, pushing and shoving, and I never have any plans to shop on Black Friday again.

So I guess the question I'm trying to ask is, how do we handle this as Christians?  I see a lot of stuff saying buy less, which is probably a good thing, but most of us will still be in the stores buying gifts.  Where were the people trying to help Jdimypai after he was knocked over?  Most news accounts say people didn't stop to help.  How can we take a consumer event like a busy shopping day and use it to show how Christians are supposed to live differently? Picketing doesn't count.

Topics: Culture At Large, Theology & The Church, Christmas & Easter, News & Politics, North America