By now you’ve probably heard about the trampling death of a Walmart worker on the day after Thanksgiving.  You may also have heard about the shooting at a Toys-R-Us, and the man who punched a woman in the nose to get the last of the TVs on sale.  It’s enough to make you want to check out.

I want to check out of the consumerist society.  I want nothing to do with a culture that says the $2 pair of pajamas is more important than the guy I’m walking over to get them.  I hate the fact that stores have to have high volumes of cash coming in so that they can have a “good” holiday season.  And we, the consumers, have to do our part.  It is our duty to spend, spend, spend to help the stores get into the “black”.  And if the stores don’t have a good holiday season, they might have to close up shop.

Don’t sit back and say, “Well, I would never act like that…”  We don’t get a pass because we live in the Greenhorn Valley, where there are no large stores.  Human nature is the same everywhere and I have no doubt that in the right time and in the right place, all of us have the potential for the same kind of behavior.  Plus, Pueblo isn’t that far away.  If we wanted to get involved in a tussle at Walmart, it wouldn’t be that hard.

So how do we tame the greed that causes all this?  I don’t know, maybe go ahead and pay the normal $4 price for the pair of pajamas.  And save up and buy the TV at a normal sale price, rather than the deep discount on the day after Thanksgiving.  You might pay a little more than you would on the day after Thanksgiving, but you still have your sanity, your soul, and you didn’t trample anybody.

Also, you might consider the opposite of greed.  You could actively look for ways to give.  You could give more than you get.  You could play Santa.  You could pay a neighbor’s utility bill.  You could throw a feast and invite the whole block.  Remind yourself that people are much more valuable than stuff.  Instead of looking for the absolute best deal on material goods, you might look for the absolute best deal on generosity.  How could you get the most bang for your buck by giving money away?  There is no run on generosity.  You won’t have to fight anybody in the giving line.

This article originally appeared in the December 3, 2008, edition of the Greenhorn Valley View.

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