Tuesday, November 20, 2012
In the USA, the 4th Thursday of every November is known as Thanksgiving Day. On that special day, family and friends gather around a wonderful meal and give thanks for all that they have. When the meal is finished, the gathering shifts to around the television, where football is watched and some pleasant inebriation takes place. The following day is known as Black Friday. On this day, many of the same friends and family that gathered the day before to give thanks, will beat the hell out of others to buy some junk that they think they really need. We truly are a consumer/producer nation.
The retailers love Black Friday because the buying frenzy increases their profits, and increased profits helps boost their stock offering on Wall Street. The media loves Black Friday because it gets paid big bucks to advertise all the goofy stuff that the retailers have to sell to the consumer crazed public. The media's profits also have their 'profit effect' on Wall Street. And all of this is fueled by people buying things they really can't afford. A step back needs to be taken.
A step back to reconsider the differences between need and want. Need covers what is necessary to survive and to get by, with some elements of comfort tossed in as garnish (in some cases, folks in this condition have to get by without the 'garnish' ). Want is something that goes well above need. In some cases, want is buying something because you can, or buying something to show up the neighbors. These simple explanations vary between person to person and family to family. There are no cookie cutter formulas, no one size fits all solutions to pin point want and need. But when you send your kid to a swanky private school to show up the neighbors, and have trouble making the mortgage payment, some adjustments should be made.
A thought or two along these lines before purchasing anything is not a bad idea. Who knows, maybe saner holidays will prevail or, at the very least, you can avoid taking a hit in the head at Walmart by granny and her cane.
Copyright @2012 Terry Unger
Author's Note: This piece original posted on 11/20/2012. In the last two weeks, the mega-retailers have announced that they will be open on Thanksgiving Day. One of these retailers mentioned that their customers wanted them to be open on Thanksgiving Day. Really? I think that it has more to do with their bottom line; families be damned. Somehow, I do not believe that Norman Rockwell would find that decent to paint.
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