I love a bargain as much as the next person. But I've yet to turn shopping into one of my favorite hobbies, sports or social activities. I shop when there is something I truly need or want, AND when I can afford it. I do enjoy shopping when traveling, because there are always interesting things to see when visiting other areas. However, that does not mean I actually make purchases. The looking is fun, too.
I don't really enjoy "the hunt" either. That brings me to "Black Friday". I'd rather run bamboo shoots under my fingernails than fight crowds of shoppers. This year I was in Florida, and went for a short hop with my brother-in-law, Mike, and husband, Jack, on a mission. Mike wanted to buy two big flat screen TV's to surprise his wife and son, while they were on sale, as early Christmas presents.
You see, Mike had a brain aneurysm that ruptured on May 28 this year. We almost lost him. It was a long summer of recuperation. Mike was finally able to go back to work on November 10 after almost losing his life. We didn't know for a couple of weeks if he would survive. He was so appreciative of all his wife and son endured, and all the love and help they offered to nurse him back to life, that he was determined we would find the perfect TV's. And we did.
While we were out, I found a new book by my favorite author, and my husband had me pick out my birthday present so that would be out of the way. He hates to shop, too. We did all this in about an hour. We waited until early afternoon, so that the crowds would be thinned out.
Later that night we saw on the news, just like everyone else, about the Wal-Mart seasonal employee who was trampled to death when he opened the doors for business. Another was injured at a different location. Unbelievable! What kind of mentality does a holiday shopper have to possess to even want to stampede into a store like a bunch of horses let out of the shoot? Has getting a bargain turned them into animals?
What kind of people knock someone down like that? Even worse, what kind of people continue to tromp over a person, and keep going just to purchase presents for their own loved ones? How about the loved ones of the deceased? I wonder if any of those shoppers are thinking about that.
I have friends and family who will go to those early morning sales just to go through the doors when they open. Many of them think they have to buy hordes of presents to justify a happy holiday.
I like to think it's different with me. I celebrate what Christmas means to me...the birth of my savior. I take the time to choose the right gift, leisurely. If I have to spend a few dollars more, that's okay. They will know I took the time to carefully select something just for them, instead of stampeding through a big box store looking for bargain items. And, if I can't find the perfect gift, I will give them the cash so they can shop at their leisure. It doesn't mean that I care less. It means that I am considering them, and it means that my life does not revolve around commercialism and greed.
This year, let's all learn a lesson from this tragedy. Enjoy the company of loved ones, find the blessings and joy of the meaning of the Christmas season, and take in the twinkle of your tree lights. Put on some music, sip a little cocoa or hot cider and relax. And remember that when all else fails, cash doesn't come with an interest fee or shipping charge.
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Design is copyright 2008. All rights reserved. Bexley Public Radio Foundation. Text is copyright 2008. All rights reserved. Dianne Garrett.