Already, before I woke up today, people had already lined up and qued into stores across the country. All the craziness -- trampling, running through stores to get deeply discounted DVD players -- would have already happened before I even had any coffee. I'm not saying there was any craziness this year, I haven't really checked yet.
Here is one video indicating we're in for another sad Black Friday (people lined up 13 hours early at a Best Buy in Maryland):
Even without people literally walking over each other for the best deals this morning, the spirit of Black Friday lives, and that's what I'm sad about today. On the day after Thanksgiving, we as a nation start our steep commercial climb into the Christmas season. And, I wish for at least today there was an alternative. An alternative for fellowship and service.
The only actual "organized" alternative to Black Friday is Buy Nothing Day. Organized in North America by AdBusters, Buy Nothing Day is, in my opinion, a reactionary and eventually negative answer to Black Friday. You see, I'm successfully buying nothing today.
I'm going to watch my son for most of the day, watch some college football and read a couple of good books. Pretty common day for fall.
But, these things don't actually improve anything that is ruined by Black Friday. Simply "buying nothing" doesn't make my community better, serve anyone or take away the bad effects of Black Friday, so in the end it rings hollow.
We need a positive reaction to not only Black Friday, but also "Buy Nothing Day." Maybe a magazine like Sojourners or a blog like Street Prophets promoting a day of service, similar to how Martin Luther King day has become a day of service.
While the folks at AdBusters are right, no one was "born to shop," we were all born to be of service and in fellowship. On all days, after we give thanks for our blessings, we should give service and love to our communities.