If you happen to be in the queue for a store to open at midnight tonight so that you can partake in Black Friday specials, or if you're asleep right now because you're getting up at 4am to make sure you're up and at the mall by 5, don't look for me. I won't be there. But perhaps I could inspire you to think differently about consumption this holiday.
The last month has seen devastation on the East Coast due to Hurricane Sandy, and the resurgence of violence in the Middle East. There are people who need serious help to rebuild their lives. And there are people who need an iPad Mini. If you're one of the people in the latter category, enjoy the lines at the Apple store. I don't begrudge you your technology, or wanting to get the best price, even if you lose a few hours of sleep (or a toe in the stampede). But maybe this is a chance for us to think about how most of our shopping is for things we want, and not things we need.
Most of us are lucky - our shopping habits operate from a place of privilege, a sign that we have enough to survive, we have shelter and food, and can spend additional cash on ways to improve that life with additional decorative, style or entertainment options.
But there are ways that you can help people who really need their basic shelter and sustenance needs met, and ensure that people feel your concern and your care across the miles. Here are five ways - they're options for you to consider, in thinking about how you can help provide to people in need as you go about your shopping business.