Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Day Before Black Friday

I got an email with a chart about Black Friday. It had a column for each day the business expected to make lots of sales.

Next Monday was labeled Cyber Monday.

Of course there was Black Friday.

But what do you think Thanksgiving was labeled? Thanksgiving?

No. No, it was labeled Day Prior. And for a lot of businesses, Thursday (formerly known as Thanksgiving) is just an extension of Black Friday, since the sales start right after dinner now.... or maybe even a few days before.

Ironically, the holiday where we're actually supposed to pause and be grateful for what we have has turned into a day to acquire more than we could ever want. What a great deal!

It's not that I'm against saving money (in fact, I love to shop), but in a year where I'm trying to build up my savings, I'm acutely aware of how much money one must spend in order to "save."

A sale at a store doesn't mean you get to shirk your accountability to your savings or rent or your mortgage or to whatever bill you know you're not going to be able to cover if you spring for that _________ because it's only _______!

Yet, I like everyone else (or at least many others) feel this compulsion to go "save" money by parting with hundreds of dollars.

I used to work with someone who was a cashier at a department store and an Accounting major. She said it never made sense to her why someone would add a $20 item to their purchase save $15. They're still spending more. And often, that extra item would be a lot more than it needed to be to reach the sale's minimum - $25, $30, $40, $50?

That's not what the customer was focusing on, though. The customer was focused on how much more they got.

That's just what the retailers want you to do.

Think about it: If they didn't make a killing every year, they couldn't afford to have these sales and they wouldn't do it. Just like if you can't afford the sales, you shouldn't do it, either.

But how to fight that compulsion? In Philippians, we get some good advice on the subject: "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand." (4:6,7 ESV)

Ha! The very thing Black Friday is overshadowing contains the antidote to this compulsion to shop: prayer and thankfulness!

The end of Philippians shows us that Paul must be following his own advice. He tells us, "At the moment I have all I need - and more! [...] And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus." (4:18, 19 ESV)

Maybe there's something to that old, somewhat awkward tradition of naming something you're thankful for during the Thanksgiving meal. Next time your mom or dad or grandparents (or weird Cousin Emily) mention it, don't make them beg. Instead, gulp down that pumpkin pie, wipe the whipped cream off your lip, and fess up loud and proud to a nice big list of things you're thankful for. Your wallet and peace of mind will thank you later.

Your Sister

1 comment:

  1. Hi Emily..l so agree with you about buying because it is on sale! In fact I rarely ever buy new anymore and love the savings. Thanks fie stopping by my blog. I write womens fiction too. Hope you sell a story soon!