On Black Friday, I encountered a woman scurrying toward the entrance to my retirement center. The raw wind blew past as I held the door open for her. As I did, I noticed the shopping bag she clutched in her hand was filled to the brim. “Did you get a bargain?” I asked, making light conversation. Her cheeks mounded into two rosy hills. “Yes, I did,” she winked, then took a sprightly step into the warm lobby.
“The mall was packed,” she added before parting from me. Her hurried manner left me no doubt she was eager to stash her treasures in her apartment.
I could understand her enthusiasm. Who doesn’t like a bargain?
Still, as I watched her disappear down the hall, I couldn’t help wondering about the hidden cost of Black Friday: the cost to the employee who’d cut short her Thanksgiving to accommodate the sale.
Gift-giving should include thoughts beyond whether Uncle George will like his woolen mittens, in my opinion. They should include concern for how those gifts were made and sold. Most of us wouldn’t purchase an ivory necklace if we knew an elephant had been killed to produce it. The same kinder and gentler ethic should apply to humans.
That Amazon runs bone-crushing sweatshops is no secret. (“Life Under the Algorithm,” by Gabriel Winant, The New Republic, Dec. 2019, pgs. 47-49.) Their warehouses, euphemistically called “fulfillment centers,” have people working at a grueling pace, risking injury to themselves. Scrooge would approve of Jeff Bezos. To accommodate his employees’ aches, strains and back pains, he doesn’t adjust the workload. He provides painkillers free of charge. (“Life Under the Algorithm,” by Gabriel Winant, The New Republic, Dec. 2019, pg 48.)
Perhaps the time has come to exercise conscientious shopping. Let’s say “no” to Black Friday and overnight deliveries. These traditions come at a cost to others. That’s what Christmas is about, isn’t it: showing concern for others?