Six in the Morning: Black Friday takes a back seat to humanity

Fawn Musick

Today is Black Friday. It is the designated day some go out and spend like crazy for Christmas. Crowds are pushy and rude and stand in line for hours and hours. In some cities, special police forces are out in numbers to control the chaos. I have never participated in Black Friday. I hate the idea behind Black Friday. I don’t care for Pre-Black Friday sales or even Black Friday week to save more money. According to that reliable research engine Wikipedia, there have been 10 deaths directly related to Black Friday since 2006.

I find all of this so silly. People leaving their Thanksgiving tables and families to be able to save an extra few bucks on more stuff to give to folks who already have so much stuff they pay a monthly rental fee on a storage unit.

Black Friday, and the extending timelines of Black Friday destroys the meaning of Thanksgiving just like putting Christmas decorations out in August turns the entire Christmas event into a shopping spree. In one sense, advertisers are promoting family, love, caring, sharing and being together and all kinds of warm fuzzies. But underneath it all lies the materialism and greed. Stores open longer and earlier. Useless stuff put on the shelves months in advance of the actual event. Consumerism at its best all wrapped up in family and love.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because I like the premise of getting together to be thankful for each other and for all the blessing we have had during the year. We would all be better off if we did this more than once a year, but I am grateful for the days off and the kids coming in the late fall. Not everyone gets the days off, however, and I would like to say a big thank you to them.

Thank you to all the policemen and women who kept us safe and watched over us while we ate and visited with our families. A big thank you to our son, who patrolled the streets through the night and kept his city a little safer.

Thank you to all the doctors and nurses and other staff who worked in the hospitals. Not everyone gets to be at home for the holidays, and you were there continuing their care.

Thank you to the paramedics and EMT and Emergency Room folks. Unfortunately, there seem to be many accidents during the busy times, and you were probably very busy.

Thank you to the tow truck drivers who ran out and helped people to their destinations when their cars gave up on them. Thank you for helping clean up the highways after accidents.

Thank you to the nursing home staffs who cared for the elderly and tried to help them remember. Thank you for slowing down and helping them to the dining room and being gracious to listen to their stories.

Thank you to the airline pilots, stewardess, and all airline folks who got our loved ones to us and then took them back home.

A Very special thank you to our military men and women! Some are overseas, and others are home, but all are appreciated. Thank you.

Thank you to the retail workers who might not agree with their company’s policies but need the job so will be there on Black Friday and some were there on Thanksgiving. Thank you for working on what must be one of the most frustrating, frazzling days of the year.

Almost forgot. Thank you to the workers at the movie theaters. Holidays are busy times. Keep that popcorn poppin’.

In the end, it is humanity that makes this crazy world tick. Not the stuff. Not the sales or events. Not Black Friday. Not the bottom line. BUT humans, who care about others and who are willing to leave their own tables to help another. Humans who will comfort an elderly person or send flowers to those who can’t get out. Humans who put their lives on the line for someone they don’t know. You and I make this world tick.

People helping people is the key to it all. Graciousness and kindness towards others are far more precious than any item bought on a Black Friday sale.

Fawn Musick is a Princeton Times columnist, a mom, and a blogger. To read more of her work, visit fawn.musick.com. To contact her, write fawnmusick@yahoo.com