Wednesday, 21 November 2012

True Gratitude


I find it extremely ironic that people in this country spend one day piously declaring all of the things that they are "thankful" for: good health, loving friends and family, shelter--you know, the basics--and then, the next day they spend camping in front of retail stores, and then clawing each others' eyes out for the last discounted big screen TV. All of the warmth and good feeling that Thanksgiving is supposed to leave us with is promptly ruined by greed and commercialism.

It rips my heart out when I think that people actually die in stampedes of shoppers or get shot over merchandise on the day after a holiday. STAMPEDES OF SHOPPERS. A stampede is usually a term reserved for a herd of cattle. One member of the herd starts running and signals the others to follow suit. There is no thinking involved, just animal instinct. I cannot fathom that anyone could trod over another human being unless that person where not thinking, perhaps in some trance-like state.

It guts me further to think that companies like Best Buy and Wal-mart pay more attention to their bottom line and less to the danger that is caused by mob of deal-thirsty shoppers. If shoppers ripped each other limb from limb within the aisles, they'd call for a clean-up in Aisle Five, issue a statement of condolences to the family, maybe a quick settlement, and that would be that. The profits reaped from Black Friday sales are simply too great, and, besides, law enforcement isn't stepping in to resolve these problems.

Furthermore, many of the "big box" stores plunk their discounts right on top of the backs of their own workers, offering low wages and poor or no benefits. When you're out punching someone in the face for your new laptop, it's kind of a double-blow, and, eventually, that double-blow comes back to bite you in the butt, in the way of a downed economy, which forces you to seek deep discounts for your electronics, which pays it all forward once again in a limitless downward spiral.

I guess what I am thankful for is the ability to be compassionate and to find other ways to show my gratitude to others besides buying them things. I am thankful for the ability to think critically and to have a good moral compass. I am thankful that I try to be a part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. And I'm thankful that you are reading this. Happy Thanksgiving!