A Rumination on Black Friday

Once again, I find myself with a post coming up on one kind of observance or another. Today’s is less happy than most, the expected but informal commemoration of consumerist capitalistic excess that is Black Friday. It is a paroxysm of purchasing panic, a recklessly ragged rush to seek out the sales that set up holiday happiness–hardly the thing I am most wont to endorse.

Seems light traffic for years gone by.
Image is Gridprop’s on Wikipedia and is used for commentary.

Yes, of course, I buy things; I am not able to supply myself and my family with all of what we need without doing so, and I can certainly not meet what all we want. So, yes, I am aware of the disconnection between bewailing buying and doing it myself. And I am aware of the tension between supporting workers whose paychecks come from purchases made on this day and reducing the suffering and stress they undergo at this time of year; I have been such a worker, although my retail and foodservice experience are some time in my past as I write this.

Much as I might be annoyed by what happens today, much as I may try to absent myself from it, I know it does no good. I am but one voice, and even if I can be loud, indeed–heard clearly at a quarter-mile and more on occasion–the many voices of others exclaiming how good a deal they got drowns me out. It is not the only thing for which such is true, either, and the anger that I all too often feel at the state of the world flatly does not matter; no amount of raging I do in my heart or on the page changes a damned thing, nor yet am I in a position to effect any alteration.

I recognize it, obviously, but I am not able to set it aside, even as I know I would be better off to do so. I do not know how not to be angry; I do not know how to be okay with the things I see as wrong and in which I am constrained still to participate. And the only why I should be that I know is far more selfish than I am comfortable with being. As is taking part in today’s “festivities” more than I must.

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