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A Capitalist Rant Right Before Black Friday

Last winter, I made the decision to stop supporting Amazon because of my anger towards how much money Jeff Bezoz has and how little he pays in federal taxes (ZERO, that’s how little). Since then, I have been expanding my knowledge about big corporations and really trying to vote with my dollar because I can’t just be angry and continue to support the people who are tearing the country and our environment apart. 

Fueled by this dislike of capitalism, the current president and my drive to only buy secondhand items, I can say for certain I will be taking the REI approach for opting outside this Black Friday, and will not be making any purchases. 

With that in mind, I’m going ahead and stating a hard pill to swallow—people are too lazy and unwilling to change who they are, but are more than willing to complain about our current capitalist system. I get that Amazon is cheap, but unless you are using it for your survival (food, household necessities, etc.) you do not need ANYTHING they are selling.

The dollar section at Target, the clearance items at Kohl’s and the “insanely good deals” on Black Friday are all things you probably don’t need. We have been trained to get a rush when we purchase something for a good price, and I get that, I’m like that too, but I’ve shifted from getting that rush from buying a clearance shirt at Target to getting the rush when I find a special, one-of-a-kind, used item from a thrift store.

I understand shopping on Black Friday for Christmas gifts, even though I don’t agree with it, but we all need to challenge ourselves to move on from purchasing things we don’t need. If you’re planning on shopping this Black Friday, go in with a goal of only getting things you or a loved one really, really needs, or that you really, really want to gift. 

While I would love for everyone to just not partake in shopping on Black Friday and literally shake these big corporations, I know that is unrealistic. What is realistic, though, is not getting sucked into buying an EOS set of lotions and chapsticks that you know you don’t need but want because it’s so cheap, or purchasing a new blender that is half price when your blender at home works just fine.

As an environmentalist, reducing and reusing is so important, and this translates into consumption. Reduce and reuse (aka thrift, hand-me-downs, repurpose what you already have) where you can, and stop wasting your money! Saving $50.00 on a TV doesn’t matter if you’re dropping $250.00 on a TV you don’t need. You’re still losing $250.00, you aren’t “saving money.” We’ve been brainwashed into thinking we “save money” on things we don’t need to buy in the first place. It is just a waste of money.

If you’re angry about capitalism, you need to make changes in your life. The hesitation that comes with only being one person is valid, but it is not an excuse. Stop using big corporations as a scapegoat for not making changes in your life. 

Here is one more hard pill to swallow—people often say how it’s the big corporations that need to change and need to be held accountable, but frankly, people who are waiting for the corporations to change won’t be ready for that change when it comes if they haven’t shifted their own lifestyle. 

In simpler terms, if you believe that the waste of disposable coffee cups is Starbucks’s fault and they need to stop selling coffee to people who don’t bring a reusable cup, but you yourself are unwilling to bring a reusable cup when you get your daily brew, you’re going to be pretty inconvenienced when Starbucks shifts to only serving people who brought their own cup because you were unwilling to change your own lifestyle despite knowing the environmental consequences. 

If you’re mad at big corporations, stop giving them your money if you don’t have to. Going to Target for groceries because you need to eat is one thing, going to Target for a new shirt you don’t need is different.

If you’re mad that Black Friday starts on Thanksgiving, don’t support stores that open on what should be a holiday about being thankful. If you’re mad about sweatshops and clothes that are harmful to the environment, buy secondhand or from businesses using recycled clothing. It is that easy. 

Do your research, vote with your dollar and stop complaining about what big business is doing if you’re unwilling to stop supporting them.

Molly is currently a junior at Hamline University who is studying English, Professional Writing and Communications.
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