Black Friday is the official start to the Christmas buying season.
Stores used to open at midnight Thursday night and stay open through the weekend. Most recently, they've started opening as early as 8pm on Thursday night (which unfortunately means Black Friday is spilling over into Thanksgiving).
These stores put together incredible deals to attract new shoppers. Where else can you get a brand new 60" plasma television for $10?!? And most of these deals have very limited quantities because companies would go out of business otherwise!
Over the years, Black Friday is also a night for incredible drama. In their attempt to get one of the 5 available Xbox units on sale for only $5, people trample all over each other, use pepper spray on each other, and threaten each other. And even worse is how they treat the employees who are giving up their Thanksgiving holiday with their families to open the store: they yell at them and blame them for not having enough Wild Wacky Action Bikes in stock, and out of fear of missing out on the early sales, I even read that someone had once defecated in a washing machine floor model! Seriously.
The madness makes you realize that a lot of people have forgotten the spirit of the season that they're supposed to be celebrating. The holiday season is about love, kindness, peace, and happiness. Giving gifts is a part of the season, but not necessarily at the expense of treating everyone else like garbage.
For some reason, on Black Friday, people focus on their own needs and wants, and completely ignore everyone else.
In much the same way, I've seen a lot of people focused on their own needs when it comes to Reebok and its new Les Mills® clothing line. I've seen some disrespectful and impolite comments on Facebook and in blogs.
I get it. Everyone wants the latest gear. But that's not an excuse to forget that there are actual people behind the logos, Facebook pages, and websites.
Reebok has stated that they underestimated the demand of the worldwide Les Mills® instructor population. They're making efforts to make more product available, but working in the manufacturing industry, I know that you can't magically produce more inventory on a whim; it takes time and planning, especially if you don't want to rob Peter to pay Paul and jeopardize future products.
I guess what I'm most concerned about is that as part of the LES MILLS® family, we talk about being One Tribe. We're supposed to be one family, supporting each other, and respecting each other. Well, we just had a huge new group of people join our tribe and yes, they're bringing along some fantastic, shiny new gear. They're also going to help us spread the word about battling global obesity and help us change the world. There's so many great reasons to welcome them into the Tribe with open arms, rather than make them regret the decision to join us.
We're not entitled to have that BODYPUMP® tank top or those BODYJAM® jeans any more than the Black Friday shopper is entitled to that plasma television. If they run out of stock, we shouldn't badmouth the employees and threaten to never shop there again. I guarantee you that they're just as upset at themselves for not having more stock available.
Just remember that we're all part of this movement together...
Relax. Breathe. Put things in perspective: Be happy that we actually have the freedom to do this thing that we love, because if you read current events, you know a lot of people in this world don't have that luxury... As a culture, we've begun to drift into this unhealthy place where we don't give a damn about anyone else; where everybody is out for themselves. It's always been true that you have to look out for yourself, but for some reason, now we have to step, trip, and spit on the rest of the people as we pass them by. There's a general lack of consideration and courtesy for others.
Do unto others as you would have done unto you.
In this increasingly electronic age, where you can type anything and put it out in the world in a heartbeat, we forget that there are others affected by what we type.
I wonder if recalling the golden rule before we hit SEND would cause us to re-think what we just typed.
I wonder if it would cause us to act a bit more civilly the next time we're in line at Best Buy on Black Friday, to remember that the person next to us is no different than us. Or that the employees behind the registers are missing out on their holidays so we can buy our gifts.
We have to remember that it's not always about our needs and wants. It's about having a meaningful experience during our time here and making every moment count for something. It's not about tank tops and televisions. Do you want to be looked at as an example of what not to be or as a role model to be looked up to? Do you want to leave a bad impression on someone or do you want to make a difference? Because that's really what matters in the long run...
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