The desperate attempts by retailers to impose yet another hyped up shopping day imploded horribly on the streets of London, Leeds, Manchester and even Dundee yesterday. Police had to be called to protect staff and goods during the scuffles that broke out when shoppers tried to grab a pre-Christmas bargain on 'Black Friday', a US invented shopathon that follows Thanksgiving Day in the states. The scenes of thousands of frenzied shoppers prepared to climb over women and elderly folk to get ahead of the queue were quite distressing. Some commentators compared it to the 'Hunger Games' where poor folk get to murder each other for the amusement of the rich.
Rampant consumerism is of course, no stranger to Capitalism. The belief that 'we are what we own' is a strong component in everyday living, and in the 'West', it reaches into every aspect of our lives. None of us are immune, and it is common to find ourselves involved in 'shopping therapy' when we are feeling down. Like alcoholism or any addiction - shopping never fully satisfies us, and always leaves us hungry for more.
Thank heavens then for international 'Buy Nothing Day', another North American invention, this time started in Canada in 1992. It is a worldwide protest against over consumption, a world where 20% of the population consumes 80% of the resources.
It always challenges me, and reminds me that it is not 'I Shop Therefore I am' but instead 'I am created to love and to share - and I don't need any stuff that distracts me from that reality!'
Happy 'Buy Nothing Day'!