Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Giving Tuesday

I'd heard a lot about Black Friday.  I even experienced it one year in Boston.  Although all I can recall is a hazy memory of a crowded mall and G.I. Joe action figures.  I don't think we bought anything else.

This was the first year I really became aware of Canadian retailers marketing Black Friday so strongly.  The first time that such strong efforts were made by Canadian stores to keep Canadians in Canada with super specials and bargain buys on the last Friday of November.

It wasn't our intention to go Black Friday shopping, but since my husband and I both had the day off and we had some things to buy (dress pants for him, black shoes for me) we ended up at the mall.

Sure, there were good deals.  And we got what we were looking for.  But I couldn't help feeling terribly overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of things to buy.  By the volume of stuff that was somehow suggested we needed.  By the rows and rows of cars in the parking lot.  By the number of people in the mall.  By the amount of money being spent.  By the thought that we had just spent money that we don't really have.

That's probably what I thought about the most: all of us spending lots of money, probably mostly on credit, on lots of stuff that we don't really need.

I also thought about all of our money going to big stores and major corporations instead of the little shops in our neighbourhood owned by people just like us, trying to make a living.

I'm hoping that it was my last trip to a mall during this holiday season.  I'm going to try to do my holiday shopping in the local businesses and small stores downtown. 

And then there's Cyber Monday.  SOOOO many emails from retailers about special online deals that I'll never open.  Delete. Delete. Delete.   Sure, online shopping would be a great way to avoid the mall, but I remain a litle skeptical about buying more things I don't need, sight unseen, and trusting they'll arrive in the mail in time for the big day.  And to hear about the crazy amounts online sales made by retailers in a single day!  1 billion US dollars online alone!  So much money spent on things and stuff...

Then, I read about Giving Tuesday, and I started to feel better. 

A day to give back to your community. A day to donate to charity.  A day to compensate for all of the greed and consumption of commercial goods that can all too easily take over the holiday season. 

Charities could market Giving Tuesday as the day to purchase 'gifts' for those on your list who are hard-to-buy-for.   How about hens and a rooster, or mosquito nets for families in Africa on behalf of your great-aunt who has everything?

Or organizations could plug Giving Tuesday as a day to secure pledges from individuals to commit to volunteer efforts over the holidays or in the New Year.  

Wouldn't it be great if Giving Tuesday would catch on?  A movement to encourage us to rethink how much money we spend on 'stuff' for family, friends and ourselves.  On people who already have so much.  A campaign to encourage us to donate as much to deserving charities that help those in the world that truly know the difference between 'want' and 'need'.

There's still time left, what are you doing for Giving Tuesday today?

1 comment:

  1. I didn't do anything for Giving Tuesday. But today I reminded myself about the Advent Conspiracy.... http://youtu.be/eVqqj1v-ZBU