I’m back from a wonderful long holiday weekend, complete with two Thanksgiving celebrations, a homemade bread-making day with my husband, singing and even a stats study session! The madness over Black Friday provided some great inspiration to start the week.

We love stuff, and in America, we’ve got plenty of it. And yet, there’s people who pepper spray others or shoot others to take their stuff during a sale. Really? REALLY? I heard about the lady with the pepper spray, and thought, “That’s what’s wrong with America, that lady and everything she stands for.” Basically, when we’re so controlled by our stuff that we can’t even act like decent human beings, that’s a problem.

This hits home for me, as a marketer, especially hard. Part of my job is to convince people that they need more of whatever item my company sells. I like to believe that my personal practice of marketing does not induce such abhorrent behavior, and that I’m more about telling people about real solutions to real problems. I don’t want to “sell” someone something that they don’t need.

My husband and I read a lot of personal finance blogs, including two extreme bloggers, ERE and Mr. Money Mustache. Both denounce the devotion to stuff, and one goes so far as to use the concept of storing his stuff on Craigslist. If he doesn’t need this lawn mower right now, he just sells it on Craigslist, with the mindset that when he does need a lawn mower, he can simply retrieve it from Craigslist by purchasing another. Since he almost exclusively uses the secondary market, this is a very economic option.

This is a pretty polarizing issue, with many people trying to slim down, while others are hoarding every last item they can find. At what point are we convincing people to buy more unnecessary clutter, instead of educating them about the benefits of using your solution for a real problem? At what point are we enabling consumerism, instead of responsible, reasonable ownership? Is Black Friday the ultimate genius marketing campaign, or devious device of consumerism?

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