Black Friday

Black Friday

Shampoo, conditioner, vitamin D, mascara, two t-shirts and one knitted sweater. There you have it: my black friday 2018 shopping.

– Up until two years ago I did not know what black friday was (you?).
– Last year I drove to my local shopping area and figured out something must be going on because it took me ages to find a parking space (I ended up buying covers for our guest beds).
– This year I found myself planning ahead (and ending up buying the above stuff).

There is a particular form of tension in stores during this black week I feel: some people even have a certain (kind of crazy) look in their eyes while they are bargain-shopping, have you noticed the same thing? I see black friday-protests online and offers to donate money to charity instead. And have you seen these videos of hoards of people running into stores and grabbing whatever they can get hold of, sometimes even involving physical fighting over certain items? It’s crazy, really. Somehow, everyone seems involved in black friday in one way or the other. It’s become totally unavoidable over the course of just a few years, at least in Stockholm where I live.

What happened? It interests me, this phenomenon of black friday shopping. As you most likely know black friday originates from America, is regarded the first day of the Christmas shopping season and occurs on the day after the holiday of Thanksgiving. I recently stumbled upon this quote:

Black Friday: because only in America people trample each other for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.

Even though we europeans don’t celebrate Thanksgiving I feel this sentence touches something profound. Because is this really what we need: more shopping and adding stuff to our lives? Does stuff equal happiness? Is what we already have not enough? What holes are we collectively trying to fill inside ourselves by all this shopping?

This is of course not news. And as always some people are highly aware of what they purchase and why, and other people never reflect upon their spending. Naturally this is also connected to one’s financial situation: it’s much easier spending money on things when you have plenty, right? Years ago I could buy stuff without giving it much thought. Today it makes me feel a bit ashamed when I think about what I could spend money on. And of course none of it made me more happy, only sometimes for a short amount of time but the effect never lasted.  

I recently lived half a year in Spain where the total amount of stuff that I, my husband and our two teenagers used during this time fitted inside a car. It felt liberating to find out that I was perfectly capable of living a wonderful and rich life without the majority of my stuff.

If you have read this blog you know that I really like awareness and have put this at the center of my life. I don’t want to sleep my way through my life anymore and that includes only buying things that I have consciously decided I want to add to my life. Shopping for the sake of shopping or chasing after some short-lived high just doesn’t interest me. Money for me equals energy and nowadays I choose to be conscious about what I spend it on.  

So, awareness people! I feel this is a fitting word for this particular shopping-focused black week. What if awareness was something that you could buy, like: Awareness in a jar. Or: Awareness in a bag. That would be a cool thing to buy, don’t you think? (at least way cooler than vitamin D…)

Photo: Justin Lim – unsplash.com


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