Black Friday (the Service not the Sale)

October 21, 2014 at 1:14 am 1 comment

Recalling a conversation from several years ago….

“They’re having a Black Friday service”, I told my Lutheran boyfriend about my church.

“Wha- but they’re Unitarians, I didn’t think they’d observe Good Friday, and besides, it’s the wrong time of year.” he said.

“No, honey not Good Friday- Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving, when all the big sales start. It’s a special service to protest consumerism.” I explained

“As much as I hate holiday consumerism, it’s not really a spiritual occasion, is it?” He furrowed his brow, both puzzled and bemused by those goofy Unitarians.

No, it isn’t. Which is part of why I’m not going. Besides, I don’t need to be lectured about the evils of consumerism when I am actually working the Black Friday sale! After all, it’s the entire reason I had this job at Jo-Ann Fabric in the first place- excess consumerism during the holidays. The extra irony, was Unity encourages people to either make gifts or re-use stuff they have or buy used items, and here I am working in a craft and fabric store. I know they mean well, but this is one of those things they just don’t get.  Voluntary simplicity is nice idea, but I don’t need to go to a workshop to learn about it. Try mandatory simplicity that is my life, that is a lot of people’s lives, even more so than my own.

Last year while working at Macy’s I was thinking it might be nice to have some type of contemplative type service for people who have to work for the Capitalist Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Something to numb the pain- isn’t that what religion is supposed to, at least a little? I didn’t get things together enough to do it, but I think I will make the suggestion this year.

Last year, I got a call from an organization I work with, that was having a protest by Target (right in my neighborhood) for being open on Thanksgiving, and boycotts were called for against the stores that were doing it including, Macy’s where I was working, and had volunteered to work overnight for some extra pay. So, instead of protesting that people are being expected to work on Thanksgiving, just in general ask why are these people not paid more? Why do they not get good benefits- whether from their employers or the state? Why isn’t good quality affordable childcare available in this country? Why do people go to work sick? Why are so many disabled people who want to work unemployed? We love convenience- our 24 hour 365 days a week open stores, when one of them in closed for a day, oh no, how will we survive?

Well, how is it that America’s workers are surviving? So yeah. Live simply so that others can simply live- keep on with liberal do-gooding, I’m all for it, sure. But we can’t all work for non-profits, we can’t all be teachers and lawyers and all the Following Your Truly Meaningful Vocation type jobs that Unitarians and other liberals approve of. When you consider which charities to donate to this holiday season, and the whole year for that matter, consider also investing in businesses that are pay and treat their employees well, value life/work balance, that recruit and train people with disabilities, people with criminal histories that want to be a part of society, single parents, people who may have less education but still have plenty of skills and experience to offer, older workers, immigrants, young people who want a real start in their lives. Help build sustainable jobs and hold employers and investors accountable and we can build a community! Because without good jobs, we can’t donate to the church, or to save the rainforest or do any number of important things. We can only take care of ourselves and our families, and survival is not selfishness.

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Entry filed under: Class, Unitarian Universalism. Tags: , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • […] & Capitalism. I was raised by hippies- I knew about Buy Nothing Day before Black Friday. My UU church even has a Black Friday service protesting consumerism. I’ve worked retail in the past, hoping I won’t have to in the future, and am […]

    Reply

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