Friday, November 25, 2011

Occupy Main Street

Here I am again, with my annual plea to think differently on this Blackest of Fridays.

It's ironic that we go from a holiday rooted in thankfulness and appreciation to one that is all about greed, materialism, and seemingly, how rude one can be. Buffalo shone with pride last year, when we made national news because a man was trampled at Target. Elsewhere in the metro region, shoppers reached over EMTs trying to assist a girl who was having a seizure to grab more shiny plastic crap.

I hate it. I hate it all. The entire concept of Black Friday, a day set aside to honor the worst aspects of our culture, just sickens me. I feel for the retail slaves who were ripped from their warm beds in the pre-dawn hours, if they got any sleep at all, to get screamed at by these hordes for minimum wage.

But Small Business Saturday, that's a concept I can get behind. Small businesses are likely to be quieter and to cultivate an atmosphere of appreciation. There will be tea and cookies, not security guards trying to keep people from killing each other over flat-screen TVs. You'll talk to someone who has made hardware, or shoes, or cupcakes, their life's work and passion, not someone who's still learning the register. It's a tangible chance to help do something about the chains that are taking over everywhere. Small businesses need you. So on Saturday, and throughout the holiday season, do try to buy it local first. Your neighbors depend on you.