Soon it'll be time for the most scary, stress inducing, even violent day of the year.
See, I really dislike Black Friday.
People get excited over Black Friday deals, racing to get their hands on items that are significantly reduced for that one day, only. All bets are off. All that seems to matter for so many people is getting those deals.
Pepper spray has been used on shoppers that have gotten too close to the item that a consumer wanted.
Large crowds have created a stampede that injured everyone around them as stores opened with their so-called deals.
People have even died because of consumer greed.
Every year, there are new reports of consumer greed causing trauma.
And for what? A little bit of money saved? Is life really that insignificant when placed in the shadow of "great deals"?
I refuse to be a part of that.
The only shopping I tend to do on Black Friday is grocery shopping. Grocery stores are just about empty on those days, which means that everybody within the grocery stores are much more accommodating and polite.
Indeed, the only negative to grocery shopping on Black Friday is that the cashiers tend to be bored silly. No reason for me to complain there!
But what options are out there for those that want to shop on Black Friday without placing themselves or others in harm's way?
- Some stores have Black Friday deals online. That's right... avoid the crowds and get great deals without endangering an employee or fellow shopper. It's not just a Black Monday thing, anymore.
- Shop at local businesses. Do your shopping at mom and pop stores. Sure, the deals may now be as huge... but by doing this, you're giving the added gift of support to someone else. Two gifts for the price of one!
Well, on Black Friday there are going to be strikes at Walmarts across the nation. Workers are protesting against things like unsafe working conditions (like everything I linked to above), discrimination, inadequate wages, ridiculous health insurance premiums, and retaliation toward workers that voice disagreement with these problems.
Help them out.
Seriously. If you want excitement, you'll find it by standing with people to protest the abuses of a mega-corporation. I'm not saying you have to take part in a protest, but I really doubt they'd turn away someone that comes to bring them, say, a huge vat of hot chocolate while they're outside in cold weather.
Let them know they matter as human beings. Let them know that you believe them to be more important than a great deal on a laptop. Drive by your local Walmart, and stop by if you see a protesting group... even if it's just to give them a smile and let them know that they matter as human beings.
You're probably wondering just what in the heck this protest has to do with a blog about environmental responsibility.
Well, Walmart has done quite a bit of harm to the environment, regardless of its statements to the contrary, and its so-called sustainability initiative.
It sells substandard products that get thrown away at a much faster rate than higher quality products, in order to give us the savings that we scream for.
That's a lot of extra landfill waste.
It contributes to global warming by way of urban sprawl. Think about it. Each new Walmart Supercenter opens in a brand new location, with a brand new building and parking lot. This is done by removing habitat and soils for wildlife. Wildlife loses a home, which disrupts the eco-system as a whole.
Say good-bye to all of the Carbon Dioxide absorption that the plants in those areas were providing. It's being replaced by smog.
Granted, some sprawl is necessary as our population grows, but in all honesty, have you ever seen a full parking lot at a Walmart? There's always space available - even on Black Friday in a large city. The parking lots are larger than is needed, planned specifically to entice more shoppers onto their grounds. Those larger parking lots mean more cars. More cars mean more fossil fuel use.
Then we get to all of those vacant Walmarts across the country.
Walmarts that were closed in order to create new, bigger locations. There are a lot of them. In Texas alone, as I write this, there are 75 buildings for sale. In Minnesota there are 37. Don't believe me? Look at the Walmart Realty listings.
Those building just sit there, unused.
That means an unnecessary amount of land has been taken from the eco-system, and replaced with a burden that Walmart's sustainability initiative don't even come close to making up for.
Do we really want to leave this kind of heartless, damaging legacy to our children? Remember, everything that we mess up now, they have to fix later. They already have a big clean-up job to do. We really don't need to make it bigger... all in the name of 'great deals'.
This post is getting a bit too long, and I don't have my usual wealth of pictures littering my page, so I'm going to end it now, leaving you with one simple question:
What are your plans for Black Friday, now that you know all of this?