Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | November 29, 2008

Black Friday

Yesterday was Black Friday, the single biggest shopping day of the year. Consumers around the nation swept across retail outlets like swarms of locusts. Millions queued up early, some even slept outside stores in tents, in order to have first access to limited inventory. The selfish and the thoughtful alike exchanged billions of their hard-earned (and not yet earned) dollars for things they hope will make them a little happier. Many gladly exchanged bucks for the bargains they hope will anesthetize them to the pain of meaningless lives. Countless others will throw out or move their old stuff into storage in order to make room for the new stuff.

Perhaps the saddest note of the day was the death of 34-year old Jdimytai Damour, a temporary Wal-Mart employee who lived in New York City’s borough of Queens. Shoppers broke down the doors of the Wal-Mart store in Valley Stream and stampeded into the store. Jdimytai was trampled to death by these holiday shoppers. When store officials announced they were closing the store because of the death, customers shouted angrily, complaining they had been in line since Thursday morning. You can draw your own conclusions about these shoppers.

I spent Black Friday on the Colorado River with my son Jonathan and my good friend Jon Davis. When we arrived at the river, there were no lines — we had it all to ourselves. We paddled our kayaks down a four-hour stretch of river under an overcast sky and against a gentle breeze. We watched trees litter the water with rust colored leaves that shimmered like glitter as they fell. The wildlife entertained us in high-definition resolution. We were refreshed by the sights, renewed with every stroke, and revived by the silence.

We did not do much to help our nation’s ailing economy yesterday, other than purchase a few snacks. But, we were reminded that the best things in life really are free and that we don’t need things as much as we need each other. I hope that in the busy weeks ahead you will find some time to slow down and enjoy the free stuff. And, I hope you’ll include lots of free stuff on your gift lists — smiles, hugs, conversations, sunsets, and quiet moments. In the long run, these are the gifts that will enrich your relationships with the people you love more than the bargains at the mall.


  1. I loved your blog. great perspective (and of course i love free stuff)

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