Black Friday is no villain, but a virtue

Black Friday is no villain, but maybe a virtue
By Guest Opinion

Many years back the anti-consumerism movement began a boycott protest over the biggest shopping day of the year in Black Friday. Then environmental concerns added their voice. Now we are seeing more messages from the pulpit chastise Black Friday as part of the spiritual call to reject materialism. This year, many Houston churches are re-labeling Black Friday as Bless Friday and holding services. Many ministries are calling upon the faithful to spend less on presents this holiday season and more on charity. Who can argue with that?

There should be a difference between consumerism and Black Friday. If your goal is to spend less money on gifts and more on charity then Black Friday is your best friend because it is the single best discount day of the entire year. There may be many discount days but none that are so participated with so many businesses making it extremely cost-effective for both shoppers and businesses. We can donate to charity not just by buying less, but by spending less on what we buy and being better stewards of our time and money.

We should not villainize businesses on this day because the holidays represent 40% of their annual sales. Black Friday helps these businesses set their inventory and prices for the rest of the year. Black Friday falls on a school holiday where it makes it easier for families to shop together. Why feel bad for shopping with your family?   I would just hate to see people knock others for doing nothing wrong.

The last concern is about how we re-define values upward. There is nothing wrong about shopping on Black Friday. Black Friday protesters are creating a false evil and consequently a false virtue where none exists. It is like handing out medals to people who do not litter. No one is exactly good for not littering, you are just not bad for doing it. As clergy tackle problems of materialism, greed and covetousness they should target specific actions and behaviors and not fall prey to exaggerations on a certain day. There is real power in a spiritual message that beckons consumers to humility and I hope the message remains true to intentions.

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