Saturday, November 24, 2007

Black Friday and the dark truth

Today is black Friday in America, arguably the busiest shopping day in the year. It was called Black Friday because the traffic would be so heavy from people going out and shopping.

Sometimes I wonder whether or not Americans are rich. Compared to the average Jordanian for example, Americans are so rich. A middle-class American lives in a nice house, has a car for him and his wife, sends his kids to a good college, has plenty of clothes, a digital camera, a great TV, and can afford to go on vacation every while and then with his family.

A middle-class Jordanian (they still exist) barely has any of the above. He is usually renting or owns a smaller house, has one car for the whole big family, owns an old TV, and can hardly ever go with the whole family on a vacation.

However, when I look at Americans rushing to the malls today to buy plenty of things they don't need, I pause and think of how rich they are. The majority of Americans do not really own most of the important things they have. They have a house but they don't own it; many of them have great 25K-dollar cars, but they don't own them. Their kids go to great colleges, but they graduate with debts up to 200,000 dollars, sometimes more. they do lots of shopping, and it's all with credit cards.

They have the impression that they are rich, they live the lives of rich people, they have a lot of things that only rich people can afford, but they don't own anything.

All what it takes for the average American citizen is to lose his job, and it's very easy in America. Even if he's performing well, he can come in the morning to his job to find himself fired because his job is not necessary anymore in the company.

He can lose his house, his car(s), the money he saved to pay for college, and he faces the dark truth that he owns nothing anymore, maybe because he owned nothing to start with.

More and more Americans are now one paycheck away from living on the street. More Americans (six million more) lost their health insurances under Bush, and much more believe they have a good health insurance until they get ill and discover they have to pay an incredible amount of money because their insurance was not covering for it. Medical bills are now the number one cause of bankruptcy in the US.

USA is a rich country, but most of its people are not. At a time when 1.6 trillion dollars (that's 1600 billion) have already been spent on two failing wars, there seems to be reason why one cannot be very optimistic about the future of this country. The American dream used to be a reality, but now it's becoming just a dream.


Ziad d said...

Amen Fares... Amen. People here buy out of a sense of frustration and a 'fashet ghul', not caring about their savings. I usually avoid leaving my home at Black Friday as I do not wish to deal with the crazy ones out there whose sole purpose is to shop and max out their credit cards. I miss Amman's Christmas, where it was simple and fun to visit relatives and friends and not worry about what to buy for whom. In California people have been staying overnight at Best Buy and other retailers so that they can purchase a slightly discounted digital camera or similar items... That is simply too shallow for my taste. Please understand that I like material things like the next guy. And I own a lot of stuff but I can't justify staying in a freezing parking lot to wait for a store to open so I can buy things and push people out of the way. Thank you for sharing your post with us and kul saneh ou inteh salem bro!! :)

Firas said...

Faris, this is for you

Watch it and then tell me what you think.

Monetary system lives on DEBT!

Hareega said...

ziad d. i think the love of shopping can be contagious, i even went to the mall yesterday just because it was black friday, i went at 10 pm though lol they closed at 11pm , didn't buy anything

what pisses me off is that if someone saw a digital camera which was for 300 and he got it for a 100 he thinks that he saved 200, while he actually lost 100 because he didnt need the digitial camera to start with

Hareega said...

Firas, man those are 4 videos for an hour long, i watched the goldsmith one it was really good, goldsmith is smart!! goldsmith these days is called bank of america

Imad said...

Welcome to the "Consumer States of America" :) I'm not sure how long you have lived in the US but as someone who lived here for over 20 years I can tell you this country is going backward. I have seen things change from good to bad to worse and to tell you the truth I'm very close to selling everything and going back home to Jordan for good...

Happy Thanksgiving everybody

San Antonio Cicily said...

Well first I might point out that this is not even what Christmas is about. Most of the people who go into debt never step foot in a church. As for the debt and credit cards, well in the 50's credit cards didn't exist. It took our parents 30 years to obtain the lifestyle they have and all the things they own. We now live in a society where people want that lifestyle NOW. They don't want to wait 30 years, and this is where the debt comes into play. Most Americans aren't rich and you are right they are one paycheck away from financial ruin. Sad really. Mom's put their kids in daycare to pay for all this stuff and make the credit card payments, meanwhile the kids are the ones who pay the price. Not every American lives this way though. My husband and I have chosen to live a modest life. I stay home and take care of my kids, we have no credit cards, we own one nice car, and live in a modest older house that we have remodeled and we are happy. I can't imagine having to put my kids in daycare all day just so that I can have the latest gadget or drive a fancy car. I guess I just can't bring myself to sacrifice my children for material possesions. I have noticed to that these families with all this stuff don't seem any happier than my family. Infact they seem really stressed a lot of the time. One last point I don't think that God would approve of all this debt. I know he wouldn't and I think there is a reason. I personally never go out on black friday. I have occasionall gone out the day after Christmas to buy something I was not willing to pay full price for.

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