Beyond Black Friday: OUR Walmart & #GivingTuesday

https://readthespirit.com/religious-holidays-festivals/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2013/03/wpid-SF_1112_Black_Friday_crowds.jpgPhoto in public domainFRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23: Set your alarm early—or sleep in, if you battled crowds last night—because it’s Black Friday, the most bustling shopping day of the year!

Nevermind the good cheer or holiday merriment; today is all about the deals … or is it? This year, a group of big-league charities and major corporate sponsors are leading the way to “Giving Tuesday,” a day to follow the Black Friday Weekend and Cyber Monday with the goodwill the holiday season is supposed to have. Congregations around the country can also chime in by encouraging members to take part in the day of charity, or host their own events. Sponsors report hoping that Giving Tuesday will be met with as much diehard enthusiasm as Black Friday.

BLACK FRIDAY: AN APP FOR THAT?

Yes! Check out more information on the Black Friday App from Apple. Or, get the scoop from a Washington Post article and BlackFriday.com.

BLACK FRIDAY: WHERE DID IT BEGIN?

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, traditionally opens the Christmas season in retail. Since 2005, it has been described as the busiest shopping day of the year, and as such, most retailers offer extreme discounts to early shoppers. (Wikipedia has details.) The name of “Black Friday” began in Philadelphia, describing the heavy traffic occurring the day after Thanksgiving; years later, its name meant that retailers turned a profit on Black Friday, from “in the red” to “in the black,” for the calendar year. Retailers are opening earlier and earlier each year, and while it used to be common to open at 6 a.m., limits have been pushed and Walmart plans to open its Black Friday sales push at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day this year.

WATCH OUT FOR OUR WALMART

According to news reports nationwide, Walmart may be the site of more than holiday sales this weekend. In their long-running effort to combat union organizers, Walmart executives now are bracing for a weekend confrontation with a group called OUR Walmart, according to a New York Times report.

Read the entire November 18 Times story here. (Note that the corporate name is spelled Wal-Mart, while store signs are spelled Walmart.) The Times reports that Wal-Mart is: seeking to prevent OUR Walmart from holding what the group says will be the biggest protests of this kind against the company at hundreds of stores. OUR Walmart … is encouraging religious leaders to hold a “Black Friday Prayer Vigil” to object to the company’s treatment of workers. Wal-Mart had initially brushed off these actions as inconsequential public relations efforts. But it is taking them more and more seriously, sending a memorandum advising managers how to deal legally with protesters.

A NEW CHARITABLE CAMPAIGN: GIVING TUESDAY

https://readthespirit.com/religious-holidays-festivals/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2013/03/wpid-1119_GivingTuesday.jpg

This year, 800 charities, non-profits and corporate sponsors (including Microsoft and Sony) have gathered to put the “merry” back into the holiday season with Giving Tuesday. It’s an effort to build grassroots support across the country for supporting charitable giving. (Read more in USA Today. Or, click the movement’s logo, above, to visit the homepage for Giving Tuesday.)

Among the campaign’s slogans is: We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Wouldn’t it be great to have a day for giving back?

How to get involved? You can visit the group’s website and participate in more elaborate ways. Tell friends about the group and use the hash-tagged #GivingTuesday to raise awareness. But the basic goal is simple: Take a few minutes to log in to your favorite charity’s website and make a contribution. Yes, it’s that easy.

Want to read more about this effort? This movement is so new that there’s no Wikipedia page explaining its history. News organizations are reporting on the effort, though. In addition to the USA Today story above, The Washington Post has weighed in on Giving Tuesday and Forbes has filed a couple of stories, including this latest report.

ANOTHER RESPONSE: BUY NOTHING DAY

Another international movement—Buy Nothing Day—has been around for two decades, so this movement already has an extensive Wikipedia entry. Mexico organized the first Buy Nothing Day in 1992 as a time to reflect on the rise of over consumption even in Latin America. The day is now observed annually on the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States and the last Saturday in November internationally. (Check out the UK version here.) More than 65 nations now participate. The idea is simple: Buy absolutely nothing for 24 hours, and “tune into life” instead.

Buy Nothing Day is not officially related to the group promoting Giving Tuesday—but consider the obvious connection between these ideas. Since it began two decades ago, the main criticism of Buy Nothing Day is that consumers merely wait 24 hours to drop their cash and swipe their credit cards. This year, if you do like the idea of Buy Nothing Day—consider sending those savings to charity!

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