This Friday sees the advent of one of (in my humble opinion) the less welcome US imports into the UK, Black Friday and of course it is followed closely behind at the start of next week by its online sibling, Cyber Monday.
The search for that special bargain you didn’t know you even wanted has become almost an Olympic sport for many Brits over the last couple of years since the #BlackFriday phenomenon reached our shores, shopping centres and tablets.
We have all seen TV coverage of people literally fighting over that “greatly reduced” widescreen telly or new games console, gladiator-like prowess on display with people running, jumping and grabbing items to buy that discounted gadget - at the expense of their humility, and dare I say it, humanity. A Hunger Games for the tech consumer with the winner taking the spoils – well, once they have flashed the cash or credit card at least!
The big brand marketing departments are very skilled at making us want what we really don’t need – especially if we perceive it as a bargain, but what is the true cost of the spike in consumerism we see in November every year, to us as people, communities and humans.
As some of you may know, I am a big fan of “Action for Happiness” www.facebook.com/actionforhappiness and their photo sums up the way I feel about all this.....
“Think if all the time spent between now and 24/12 buying "stuff" for 1 day of the year on 25th was instead spent helping others - what an investment and an impact that would be... #justathought”
I am not saying that I don’t like “stuff” and particularly “tech stuff” as I do, but I have realised over the last couple of years that working hard to earn money to buy stuff doesn’t make you happy and fulfilled – what I have always known, but now openly acknowledge is that we are all in the lives we are by a complete chance of birth and those of us who have had a lucky break in life can and should help those who maybe haven’t been so fortunate.
So to me, #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday are the antithesis of trying to feel happy and fulfilled – days filled with stress, aggression, traffic, crowds, panic and potential disappointment when that all-so-important hi-tech purchase is out of stock!
Fortunately, the true antidote to such feelings is available just days after #BlackFriday and the next day after #CyberMonday…… #GIVINGTUESDAY http://givingtuesday.org.uk/
Charities like BYHP (http://www.byhp.org.uk) are supporting hundreds of young people in the Banbury area. They are helping to prevent homelessness by working with families to help find resolutions to the conflicts which occur. They give counselling, guidance and support in finding suitable, safe housing and help them build their futures by actively providing them with employability skills, training, work experience opportunities and permanent jobs.
And, as Action for Happiness say – If You Want to Feel Good, Do Good – by supporting the amazing work done by the small team at BYHP, either through giving your time as a volunteer, giving goods such as sleeping bags and jumpers or by donating money here Local Giving you can be safe in the knowledge that your gift is doing more good than a widescreen TV.
If you do still want to buy stuff, we are registered on The Giving Machine as a Charity. If you are an internet shopper, please go to their website - www.thegivingmachine.co.uk - and register. You can make 100% of your donation to BYHP. The money is raised via commission which earns money for us and doesn’t cost you a penny!
Alternatively #shoplocal and support #SmallBusinessSaturday on 6th December.