The Mad Rush

Posted: November 23, 2007 in Bureauacracy, Compassion, Homelessness, Money, Morality, Poverty

Thanksgiving Day is past and now countless refrigerators all across America are now holding the remains of yesterday’s meal fixings. For the next week or so, many a person will be eating who knows how many different variations of "turkey" filled meals.

Today, however, begins the official start of the holiday shopping season. It’s a day that many department stores have been looking forward to for the last couple of months. Orders for every conceivable salable item were place. Merchandise that wasn’t selling all that well was either being taken off of the shelves and replaced with "newer" items, or being "marked down" for the sale. New items were being received daily. And all in an attempt to keep up with the (hopefully) mad rush of consumers.  

Even before I woke up to grab a cup of hot chocolate and sit a begin writing this post, people have been lining up en masse at malls, shopping centers and retail stores of every kind. It’s shopping day. It’s the first day of Christmas sales.

While it’s not my business to tell anyone how to spend their money, I find it somewhat bewildering that so many Americans will get themselves thousands upon thousands of dollars deeper into debt during this shopping season buying "things" but who won’t give a bit of spare change to a homeless person.

Again let me point out that I’m NOT trying to tell anyone how to spend their money. However when you consider that 22% percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and yet these folks will still go out and "max out" their credit cards Christmas shopping, it makes me wonder where our values as a nation are.

With the numbers of homeless who will find themselves sleeping behind buildings, doorways, under bushes and bridges we can’t seem to find it within ourselves to fund programs that would help these fellow citizens find a way out of homelessness, but we can put ourselves into debt by spending like maniacs during the Christmas season. And yet, all we’re really doing is continuing to put money into the pockets of those who have more money than they know what to do with in the first place, namely: the CEO’s of these giant corporations.

The biggest irony is this: with so many Americans living paycheck to paycheck and getting deeper and deeper in debt, it is inevitable that some of them will end up finding out what it’s like to be homeless – and they will have "paid" to learn the lesson. In the meanwhile, all of the CEO’s will continue to get their bloated salaries.

As the numbers of homeless continue to increase – and they will – it will also continue to cost us more and more to try and remedy the situation.

I wonder how many a homeless person we could help if we took half of what we are going to spend this year on Christmas shopping and placed into an interest gathering bank account designed specifically toward funding and maintaining programs to help the homeless transition back into society?

I’ll bet we’d have a huge impact and wouldn’t that be a wonderful gift to give someone this Christmas season?

After all, what would be the loss: that the Bill Gate’s and Martha Stewart’s of the world won’t be able to buy their planes, yachts and other high priced toys?

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