Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Black Friday leaps across the Atlantic

Black Friday, traditionally the biggest shopping day in the US which marks the beginning of the Christmas "shopping season", has now crossed over the Atlantic wreaking havoc across Northern Ireland. Shoppers queued from 5 am at stores in anticipation of the bargains announced for the day. The stampedes caused at least one shopper injury and spread fear among the workers in the shoppes.

What is it about people and this day of bargains? In Canada a woman tasered another woman and got into a wrestling match. Mayhem followed shoppers everywhere throughout the US and Canada.  Researchers are studying the psychology of Black Friday. Many attribute it to the hunter instinct of our ancestors. Hunting down the best bargain and being one of the few who takes the prize is a show of superiority. Some think its a way of expressing love in the quantity of gifts one can provide. I found myself drawn to the Black Friday death and injury counter in fascination.

I've known about Black Friday almost all my life. My mother always took me shopping in downtown Philadelphia the day after Thanksgiving for our Christmas outfits when I was a little girl. We couldn't afford much and the sales on that day were always worth the effort. As it turns out, the phrase originated in Philadephia, but contrary to the BBC's information, I'd heard it in NY and NJ in the 1970s. I have never ever gone shopping on Black Friday that I can remember in my adult life. I REALLY hate crowds. Cyber Monday is more my style. But even then, I haven't succumbed.

My favorite line in my favorite movie, Miracle on 34th Street, is "There are lots of isms in the world but the worst is commercialism." Being a sailor has tuned me into a simpler and more respectful way of life. The cruising lifestyle is basically anti-clutter simply by way of limited space. Add to that limited finances for most people choosing life away from land and high cost of maintaining a floating home in good working order, and it's the perfect antidote to civilization's pressures and temptations.

In fact, I've been thinking about Theresa Carey's blog, Sailing Simplicity & the Pursuit of Happiness. Theresa chose to give up a traditional life ashore to live more simply aboard a boat. She is the antidote to consumerism, and she has chosen a cruising lifestyle to help her focus and maintain control in this world gone crazy. She is a very brave young woman and is inspiring others to follow in her wake, choosing whatever means suits them to achieve the same goal.
Sailing, Simplicity, and the Pursuit of Happiness

I applaud Theresa for her determination and for sharing with others as she did in her TedTalk. She is one of the most successful young people of today in my book.  Thanks Theresa for inspiring me to re-establish those thoughts.

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