Monday, November 28, 2016

Buy Nothing Day supported by economic ignoramuses

If you are reading this over your morning coffee, getting ready to leave for your office soon, I will be looking forward to my first morning break. I've been on the job since 6 a.m., and I wasn't the first person to get here. The stocking crew has been here since 4 a.m.

We are in retail. We work for a Fortune 50 big-box store, and we, most of us anyway, like it. We get a good wage and we full-timers have good benefits. And the seasonal and part-time workers who want to work hard usually get bumped up to full-time. You hear all kinds of crap about evil corporations. Maybe there is such a thing; this isn't one of them.

To hear some people talk, though, our company and so, I guess, we loyal employees, too, are the epitome of evil. We are so evil, in fact, that the self-righteous crowd encouraged a boycott of us, and others like us, on Friday, known as Black Friday, one of our most important shopping (revenue-producing) days in the year.

Buy Nothing Day is what the I'm-better-and-smarter-than-you crowd calls Black Friday. According to USA Today, Buy Nothing Day has been around since the 1990s. I had never heard about it until last year when I was reading a tweet from that twit Shane Claiborne, who is some kind of halfway preacher and book writer in the social media, who was encouraging people to stay away from stores on Black Friday because of their evilness. I wrote back to him sarcastically thanking him for trying to harm the people who employ working stiffs like me and others. He did not respond.

This year he wrote, "Draw something. Sew something. Cook something. Sing something. Build something. Make something. Buy nothing." I wrote back and suggested people not buy his books that he is constantly advertising on the social media.

I don't know what kind of weird world Shane lives in, but apparently he thinks people can draw, sew, cook, build or make things without buying any materials to do so. And buying on Black Friday or other days when prices are reduced makes good sense.

Let me tell you about the sane world I worked in Friday, Black Friday. My corporation marked down prices on lots of merchandise. We had a good day with lots of customers. It seemed to me we had more customers for this Black Friday than we have had since our first one in 2007. I waited on a lot of customers who were looking to buy tools for a loved one. In other departments, they were buying appliances and snow blowers, all kinds of things to make lives easier and homes safer, cleaner, prettier and more convenient.

We didn't force anyone to buy anything. We offered it for sale at reduced prices, and they responded with gratitude. We workers were glad to see all the customers, for without them, we have no work. Boycotting our store on Black Friday would hurt us workers. They Buy-Nothing crowd doesn't understand that. Preachers (like Shane), academics, bureaucrats and politicians, none of whom work in the sector of the economy that generates revenue, understand that we are what keeps churches, schools and the government afloat with our taxes and tax-deductible donations.

Even those of us poor working people who get here at 4, 5 or 6 in the morning while the preachers and teachers and bureaucrats are still sleeping understand business and economics a lot better and a lot deeper than someone like--oh, say--Shane.

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