The US 'Black Friday,' an opportunity for greedy shopkeepers to line their pockets by selling treasure seekers imaginary bargains, has landed in the UK. This had led to police being called to many stores to separate fighting bargain hunters in many towns. Remember this nation is wealthy, but we still have two million unemployed! This nation is wealthy but we allow billions to be lost to tax dodging while the NHS is leaking billions through bad management daily. Millions are on the breadline yet crowds flock to the shops for these so called 'offers.'
Having moved from pauperism to poverty I know what it is like to be broke. For far too long I suffered the indignity of having only sufficient to survive and no more. This allowed the clothes I wore to wear out, not that I noticed, and many Christmases to be avoided as the money was not there. This was not the first time I have struggled, we all have at times and I can recall in 1982 deciding to buy a cheap tin of beans because I could not afford the one that was a halfpenny more expensive! This at a time when the Thatcher world was lining its pockets and quenching champagne at expensive lunches.
The problems mount when you have no money. Others consider daily life a struggle yet manage to enjoy themselves aplenty. Nights out, holidays, always able to obtain whatever they require, and fail to understand the poor man who has to make ends meet by careful budget and not going out. Loss of friends you cannot afford to be with, or even worse those who insist on charitable aid embarrassing the poor and heaping coals on their heads leading to a desire to avoid them rather be fed by them. Family can be worse. They understand both the position and the person however their care can be hurtful also. One of my worst experiences was sending money to one of my great nieces, then about nine or ten years old, and having it returned "because you need it." I should be providing for her yet she sent this to me! That hurt so badly and still does. I passed it on to her gran to ensure she got it somehow.
The best charity for the unemployed is a proper job of work, and one that pays sufficient to survive. For many men over fifty today this is unlikely and they too will endure what I endured to some extent. A man's pride in bringing home a wage is dented badly when unemployed. They may enjoy avoiding the daily grind but they do not enjoy the embarrassment, the inability to pay for others and the lack of cash to give to others. Being unable to provide for his family is an awful emotion.
Having such a situation is made worse when half the world is found fighting over shiny things in shops. 'Black Friday' is encouraged by the media and the businesses that line their pockets this way and they care little about the hassle customers or staff endure while they struggle over items. The sight of people fighting to obtain a TV that is £50 less than last week does not encourage me into stores, the opposite is true. Quite what motivates the grab at such times I know not. is it just the desire to have the latest item? Could it be the neighbours have one and we MUST have one also, even if it is only a super telly or computer or hoover or whatever? What is this desire? What part of our life is so empty that we need that shiny thing and are willing to fight to obtain one?
We have all done it haven't we? On at least one occasion we have gone out of our way for one such item, an item that now sits forlorn in a cupboard perhaps, an item that is not the reason for life after all. There are things that we want around, for me a computer and a camera are the shiny things that matter, but would I trail to a superstore and fight over them? I doubt it. One will arrive eventually, probably cheaper, and I will keep all my teeth.
The poor man must look on and wonder at the sights off Black Friday. He struggles to buy bread, they struggle for a TV, he misses out luxuries such as a bottle of beer, they take home cases of whisky! No wonder people are tempted into crime, no wonder resentment builds, and in such a society of hours the ones with shiny things ignore the poor man sitting there watching it pass by. No one will care. Shiny things don't lead to happiness but they are good and enjoyable. Better however is the contentment that comes from not seeking treasures but enjoying what we have.
Could anyone lend me a fiver.....?