This week everyone is crazeeeee about the whole “Black Friday” thing. Every time I turn on the TV or open a newspaper, the advertising is exhorting me to buy, Buy, BUY! Stock up for Christmas, get a great deal of a new piece of equipment, spoil myself and my loved ones.
Some people even cross the border to bring back loot. (BTW, this article says that many retailers actually put up their regular prices before the end of November so they can drop them for Black Friday. Be diligent, check and compare.)
Living in a little house has completely turned this season around for us. Not only do we not want anything, we have no where to put it if we got it. So don’t give us a new TV, or even a new remote. We have too much stuff as it is. Last year we didn’t exchange gifts between the adults of the family, and we’ll do the same thing again this year. Instead we’ll get together with loved ones, have a nice Christmas dinner, and we’ll visit back and forth during the holidays. It’s low-key. We’ll decorate our homes, bake some cookies. Take a little time to unwind and appreciate what we have.
So before you buy into the whole “buying” thing, think about what you really need and what makes you happy. It’s not stuff, I’ll wager. You’d probably be just as happy if you took the money you use to buy gifts and just gave it away to charity. Happier, even.
Remember, you probably don’t need more of anything. In his book, Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust by Darrell M. West , he points out that rich people aren’t happier than poor people, they are often more miserable. Because what they really want is “more”.
In this review of the book, Michael Lewis says
Not long ago an enterprising professor at the Harvard Business School named Mike Norton persuaded a big investment bank to let him survey the bank’s rich clients….In a forthcoming paper, Norton and his colleagues track the effects of getting money on the happiness of people who already have a lot of it: a rich person getting even richer experiences zero gain in happiness.
And Lewis goes on to say
something in the world has changed—or is changing. And I think it is: there is a growing awareness that the yawning gap between rich and poor is no longer a matter of simple justice but also the enemy of economic success and human happiness. It’s not just bad for the poor. It’s also bad for the rich. It’s funny, when you think about it, how many rich people don’t know this.
So don`t look for happiness in the next gadget or knickknack or fooforall. You probably have more than enough. (I know I“m chockablock with fooforalls.)
This is the time to say no to more consumerism.
There’s been some backlash to the blatant mass consumerism of the Black Friday event. Adbusters, a Vancouver-based not-for-profit magazine, often promotes their “Buy Nothing Day” on the same day as Black Friday, said Katherine White, a Sauder School of Business professor in consumer insights, prosocial consumption, and sustainability