Monday, December 2, 2013

Another Black Friday

How can Black Friday pass without thoughts turning to perspective?  What would it be this year – women fighting over yoga pants, someone caught in the stampede as the doors opened?  Perspective is about moderation and keeping our core values, what we hold important, as the focus of how we spend our energy and resources.  Good behavior in perspective leads to happier, more peaceful lives, quite the opposite of what we see on this single day (now one-and-a-half days) every year.   Black Friday once again turns out to be poor perspective “on steroids.”

With cell phone cameras ubiquitous and rolling, it’s gotten too easy to find examples.  The Huffington Post reports on and posts videos of several instances. “The shopping frenzy surrounding Black Friday has already led to a number of violent incidents across the country.  Starting as early as Thursday night, shootings and stabbings have been reported at retailers in several states.”  The Orlando Sentinel provides a laundry list of violent incidents.  Imagine how much pushing, shoving and generally rude behavior is too commonplace to even make the news.

Another article tells of cruder behavior in years past when some people were observed relieving themselves in public so as not to lose their place in line.

How can these people be proud of the way they are acting?  How can America be proud of it?  This behavior cannot be passed over as totally spontaneous, caught up in the emotion.  These people planned to be there.  They planned to shop and fight for bargains.  They probably did more research than they do before casting their ballots on Election Day!

Picture this:  Hundreds of people lined up, camping out hours ahead to attend a church service, then fighting to get to the head of the line because communion wafers are in limited supply!  Sounds ridiculous.  But replace it with Wal-Mart and cheap televisions and it becomes real.  Behavior reflects priorities, what is valued, what is meaningful.  What do Americans really value - family, faith, friendship, peace and goodwill or the law of the jungle?  Sometimes it's very hard to tell.

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