There are two stories in the news right now that has me thinking about the contrast between the two.
The first is a local story here in Denver (source). There may be similar ones around the country. It is about a couple who put an ad on Craig's List inviting anyone who didn't want to spend Thanksgiving alone to their home for a Thanksgiving meal. They had over 30 people respond to the ad. The couple decided that instead of picking a few, they would extend the invitation to all of the respondents.
When word got out about this couple's good will, food and chairs and tables were donated for the occasion. Last year at this time the couple was living in a donated tent camper after losing their business and home. They have been able to pull themselves out of the harder times into a modest townhome and minimal income. Still, they felt like they wanted to help out those less fortunate. And that, they did. Thirty plus strangers gathered in the small townhome to enjoy the food and fellowship that so many of us take for granted.
The second story tells us about the consequences of the frenzy of Black Friday, a day that is all about consumerism and materialism. In New York, an employee of WalMart was trampled to death by a horde of shoppers who stormed the doors (source). Once the employee fell to the ground, he was simply and tragically ran over by a crowd of eager shoppers. Others were hurt, including a pregnant woman.
My questions are; Did anyone not notice they were trampling over a body laying on the ground? Did anyone try to help this man up? Was that bargain worth this man's life?
I know the Friday after Thanksgiving has always been a huge shopping day, but I don't always remember it being called Black Friday. When did it get this name? How did it become such a frenzy for both the retailer and the shopper?
To be honest, I don't know what else to write. I don't want to offend anyone. I'm not saying that if you went out shopping on this day, that you're a bad person. I know many who love going out shopping on this day, and I would not think of judging anyone for this.
I'm just wondering how this all happened. I'd like to blame the retailers for inciting such a madness, but doesn't part of the responsibility need to be taken by the consumer? And I guess we can say that this year, it's the economy that's playing such a large role in our craziness.
There's no real point to this point except to write a commentary on the times we live in. There will always be the spirit of giving and caring. There will always be the reality of consumerism and the fact that we feel like we "need" something. Maybe the bottom line is that we need to figure out what we really "need."
It is a blessing that we will be able to spend the next holiday, Christmas, with our extended family in California. We're all looking forward to this trip.
Blessing #28 in a month's worth of blessings.