Materialism distracting from what really matters

As a retail worker at an area mall, I had an up-close and personal view of Black Friday last year and am still wondering: what in the world happened to good will toward men, ’tis the season to be jolly and all that other stuff the holidays are supposed to be about?

Was Wal-Mart’s Black Friday sale really worth trampling a New York man to death? Were people so consumed with greed that they didn’t notice the pregnant woman, who later had a miscarriage, on the floor? It doesn’t make sense to me.

At the store I work for, there were mountains of clothes in the fitting rooms, draped over racks and all over the floor. I guess extreme bargain hunting makes people forget how to behave like human beings.

It’s amazing if you think about it.

The mob of 2,000 people who incidentally walked over another human being probably went home, excited about the bargain they scored and eagerly wrapped it as a gift for their loved ones in an act of generosity. Suddenly they become human again, belying the fact that a few hours prior they could not even feign courtesy.

Obsession with materialism caused two deaths on Black Friday. This begs for introspection and change.

Everyone talks about New Year’s resolutions, changing into the “new me,” but few follow through. Gym memberships are purchased, the liquor cabinet might stay empty for a few weeks, but ultimately we fall into old habits quickly and are all set to abolish them again by next January.

This year, think about the things in your life you can really change. It doesn’t have to be a Bono-esque feat, but we can all improve the way we treat others. Start with simple gestures like letting people get in front of you on the freeway, or maybe smiling at a stranger while walking between classes.

It’s often the little things you do that have the biggest impact on people you don’t know.

Next time Black Friday rolls around, let’s try not to kill anyone just to save a few bucks.