Black Friday was a couple days ago, and like normal, I didn’t participate like most Americans probably did.
So I bought nothing? Well that’s not true. I always buy one or two things, but I do it from home. This year I spent $14 on a small tub of beard balm from Dream Beard. Last year I bought a Mission Belt and a Buy Me Brunch tee, from my mom’s couch.
Now that I’m thinking about it, I did go into Walmart on Friday morning, but it was to rent a Redbox movie (The Adderall Diaries, decent film). And actually I had a promo code so I spent $0, and I returned it on time yesterday so it was still $0 (yes, there have been several times when I forget to return a movie on time, and I pay double, and I hate myself when this happens).
I ended up walking around the store for 10-15 minutes, just to take in the Black Friday atmosphere. I was kind of surprised there wasn’t anything crazy going on, but that was reserved for Thursday I guess. It seemed like a normal day, just more people with TVs in their cart.
Regardless of saving a few bucks on a small purchase, I’m not a fan of Black Friday in general. Sure, I run Black Friday sales on my LowLabel.com site, so maybe I’m a hypocrite. But for now, a nice portion of my income is from selling merch for my various brands. So until I stop selling clothes, I’ll probably always do some sort of sale at the end of November.
Where’s the meaning?
Anyways, back to why this made-up holiday annoys me. I think it’s mainly about the gifts and meaningless purchases. Sure, a lot of people have kids and Christmas is only a month a way, so shouldn’t they be out getting the best deals they can for all the toys for their loved ones?
No. How about training your kids as early as possible that the gifts aren’t important. Am I saying to not buy gifts for anyone ever again? No, because I don’t see that ever catching on with the majority of people. Maybe less gifts or better gifts.
I received gifts my whole life for Xmas and my birthday, and I wonder what kind of kid I would have been had I never received anything while all my friends did. What I’m saying is, buy gifts that are more intentional, gifts that matter, gifts that will be remembered for years and decades. Like experiences instead of whatever the popular junk toy fad is.
A lot of my thoughts when it comes to consumerism stems for my love of minimalism. If you aren’t too familiar with it, I suggest you check out TheMinimalists.com. One of my favorite quotes that they mention from time to time, I actually heard it on a Ted Talk with Adam Baker. He says, “People spend money they don’t have, to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t even like.” That is powerful.
Future girlfriends will hate me
When I think of gifts that I’ve given in the past to ex girlfriends, I think, damn, what a waste. Sure, they were items that they wanted and sure they were happy when they tore into the wrapping paper, but for how long. How long will the pleasure last for most gifts that are physical items? It’s an incredible high that disappears fast, sometimes as soon as they move on to the next gift, where the process starts over again. A vicious cycle you could say.
I just think, wow, the majority of gifts I handed out were not needs, they were glorified wants. Things that the other person told themselves that they had to have, because of lies they told themselves or because someone told them they needed it.
Most gifts serve a purpose for a short time, and then make their way into a closet, or basement, or attic, or garage, or the trash can, or the $100 item ends up on the $5 table at your garage sale. “Like new condition” is a phrase that is often used when selling something. Proving that most used items have never been used.
Hoarders are everywhere
Another quick point to make is how massive the storage business is. Think of how many storage facilities you’ve noticed within a 15 minute radius of your house. I can think of at least 5 right now. A business that was built to handle average people’s excess shit. They bought a house bigger than they needed (myself included), and filled it full of junk, to the point that they ran out of room.
But they can’t stop buying things, because everything they bought becomes outdated so fast that they have to keep up with the Jones’s and buy the next new thing. So as they keep bringing new things into their home, at least they’re getting rid of all their old crap, right? Nope. They pay a monthly fee to store their old junk in the off chance that they might need to use it again, even though we both know they never will.
My point is, if you want to buy something for someone, make it be something that is meaningful and will add value to their life. And you don’t need to wait for a specific holiday, do it today or tomorrow. Of course, if you tell someone that you’re not going to buy them physical items anymore, they might break up with you. Trust me, I’ve had the arguments about how much we are going to spend on each other for Xmas. How ridiculous.
As a single man, with plenty of life experiences to write 10 books, I know more about what I want and what I don’t want in life, more than ever. It’s always changing but the core values are becoming more solidified the older I get.
If I end up dating someone and I can tell it’s getting serious, I will tell this fine woman that she must listen to a handful of podcast episodes and watch a few YouTube videos (if she doesn’t already know my thoughts on consumerism and relationships).
Someone that is anxiously awaiting Black Friday to come, so they can drive to all of the malls hunting out the best deals on clothes and shoes and handbags and everything else, that type of person doesn’t really interest me. With that being said, I’m not perfect either. No one is.
Presence over presents
To sum up my thoughts on Black Friday, it’s just a normal day. At some point, people gave it too much importance and the majority of people don’t know how to go back to the simpler things. Hell, it even cuts into Thanksgiving now.
People are supposed to spend time with family, but everyone is concerned with the new TV or video game or whatever that just came out. But it’s the same for me when I’m glued to my phone and/or computer during this long weekend trying to get as many orders as I can from my websites.
Writing these thoughts down makes me want to #OptOut of Black Friday next year completely. No sales. No free shipping offers. Nothing. Maybe even close the site down for this day as I’ve seen others do. If you know me, you know I’m random. So something funny like this isn’t out of the question. Haha
Until next November, buy people concert tickets, or beach getaways, or run a 10K with a friend. Experiences will stay with you for as long as your memory will allow. Pointless presents will only give you the false hope of happiness and fulfillment.