Just Another Friday

I won’t be shopping tomorrow. I’m a year and a half into my zero-sum approach to possessions and as time goes on, new habits are settling in. I don’t feel deprived. Sure, I’m still unnaturally drawn to new electronic devices–the Kindle and the Roku topping my list this year–but I’m waiting it out. I have questions about the sustainability of both, questions that will be answered by waiting. Somehow, I think the U.S. economy, in the long run at least, depends more on individual fiscal responsibility than spending money like a drunken sailor. Spending without purpose simply because retailers “need” sales is a poor way to restart the economy. I know they need sales, but I don’t need to buy. At any price. There needs to be a new balance based on actual consumer needs instead of constructed wants. Disposable consumerism needs to end.

Those who have known me for years may be surprised by this; after all, I am a professional-grade bargain hunter and will still be hitting the stores December 26. In that case though, I’m shopping with my daughter to beef up her professional wardrobe before she begins an internship in January. So-called Black Friday is different. I hate feeling like a manipulated lemming, pushed into a crowd of other ferret-like critters who are all looking for something to buy, but know not what until they see it. Worse than lemmings really, because they are driven by their natures and we actually learned this behavior. So, even if I run out of bread, I’ll wait until at least Monday to get groceries, so that the frenzy has time to die down a bit.

I may put up a wreath on my door, though. I already have that. And put up the surrealistic, swirling fiber-optic Christmas tree. Let the Christmas paper-grading season commence.

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Author of the poetry collection The Tethered Ground and Professor of English at Missouri State University. Contact me for readings or for workshops on writing/publishing and on teaching writing online.

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