Ahh, Black Friday. The day retailers get to “go in the black,” i.e., become profitable for the year. And the day millions of consumers spend billions of dollars entrenching themselves in debt so they can “save” enough to get that BIG GIFT this holiday season. The gift that will show how much they love that special someone. But Black Friday is not about saving you money. You’re not saving any money when you go shopping anyway — you’re spending money. It’s about making sure retailers large and small stay profitable at your expense.
Which is fine — great even. The economy needs strong consumer spending. But the problem is for most, and for me until this very year, it means racking up additional debt. Stress-inducing debt that makes you focus on things and their cost instead of the people you love. Advertisers know what they are doing. Guilt about missing time the rest of the year is a powerful motivator to open people’s wallets. And fear that those you love won’t know you love them without the gifts is another. Both were mine for a long time. But they aren’t any longer. And they don’t have to be yours.