Some Thoughts on Black Friday
Black Friday is controversial. On the one hand, there is nothing inherently wrong with shopping and looking out for good deals. Most of us don’t have too much money, so saving makes sense. On the other hand, there’s the greed, violence, chaos, selfishness, and other troubling aspects associated with it.
Let me start by saying that Black Friday means different things to different people. My meaning is different from yours and from everybody else’s. So when someone speaks well or speaks poorly about Black Friday, try not to get irritated and instead seek to understand their views.
For me, Black Friday carries a rather positive sentiment. I like it and look forward to it. For me, it’s a day when I can order supplements, foods, books, journals, planners – things I believe are helping me become a better, happier, healthier version of myself – on massive discounts. I enjoy ordering these things anyway, and I do so throughout the year anyway. Buyer’s high is real. Purchasing makes us feel good. I’m not immune to these effects. And on Black Friday, due to the discounts and because I make more orders, the effects are amplified.
So, I like Black Friday. To me, it means stocking up on and investing in things that I order throughout the year anyway. To give you an example, I take a daily krill oil supplement because I think it’s good for my health. On Black Friday, I stock up and save some money. Simple as that. To me, it makes sense.
This doesn’t mean that I endorse the idea of Black Friday or many of the aspects associated with it.
I don’t endorse materialism or our modern consumer culture. Research shows that holding materialistic values makes us more miserable, anxious, depressed, and selfish, makes us less friendly, likeable, and empathetic, and threatens our relationships. You can read more about the serious harms of materialism in this article. I prefer a simple, minimalistic lifestyle with little extraneous “stuff.” I do my best to shift my thoughts and values away from materialism and toward healthier choices instead.
I don’t endorse selfishness and greed. It, too, makes us miserable, narrows our thinking, and makes us behave in less-than-stellar ways. Kindness, compassion, generosity, caring and looking out for each other – these are values I strive for. These are values I support and do my best to bring forth and nurture in others.
I don’t endorse violence, yelling matches, or traffic accidents, let alone people being trampled to death.
I don’t endorse marketing campaigns that play on people’s fears and insecurities with the sole goal of generating as much money as possible. I don’t endorse people getting scammed. I don’t endorse big business, or anyone else, taking advantage of other people, mistreating animals, or exploiting our environment. I don’t endorse unscrupulous or immoral behavior of any kind.
Note also what I personally don’t do on Black Friday: I don’t go “shopping.” I don’t go to malls, buy stuff that I don’t need, or look at “deals pages” with hundreds of deals for all kinds of products. I don’t hurt anyone, at least not willingly or to my knowledge. I don’t purchase anything I can’t stand by. I don’t purchase shady products from shady companies.
Black Friday or not, I live according to my values, my convictions, and my views of right and wrong.
Black Friday isn’t inherently good or bad. Just like stormy weather or a broken leg aren’t inherently good or bad. Things just are. We accept them, knowing that our main focus ought to be on ourselves. Our job is to make sure that what we do is good and right, and not worry too much about the rest.
Epictetus comes to mind:
“Seek not the good in external things; seek it in yourselves.”
“Attach yourself to what is spiritually superior, regardless of what other people think or do. Hold to your true aspirations, no matter what is going on around you.”