Zombie-like buying defeats holiday spirit

By By Ross Solomon

By Ross Solomon

You’ve seen it in movies8212;brain-dead, walking corpses, mere husks of their former selves, droning on down the streets by the thousands.

The zombies I speak of are zombies of consumerism, thriving on overtaking your local Wal-Mart and Best Buy, shuffling toward the nearest neon sign that promises deep discounts and unheard-of savings.

If you’re not aware of the dire situation we’re in, you might have become one yourself. This holiday season, just like every year, throngs of eager shoppers are mobbing the nearest retailer with one simple intention: Buy, buy, buy8212;Playstation 3s, Nintendo Wiis, Elmo Live dolls and more.

All of these hot items are snatched off the shelf faster than they can be stocked by poor store employees. Strangers are shoved out of the way to clear the path for that special gadget gleaming at the end of an aisle.
In short, everything that is wrong with Americans these days becomes painfully apparent in this sick holiday ritual. The basic integrity of mankind is disregarded and the spirit of the holidays is flushed down the toilet.

This year alone, three people have already been killed in the madness. One of them was a Wal-Mart employee who was trampled to death in Long Island, N.Y., during a Black Friday sale. Later that day, two more men were killed in a shoot-out at a Toys R Us in Palm Desert, Calif., after their wives got in an argument.

Why must people be killed or injured because of this silly time of the year? So people can tear into a package and enjoy some material object for a few weeks before it sits in the corner, collecting dust with all of the other junk of holidays past? Now more than ever, people need to fight the blatant consumerism that infects each and every one of us. Students of all people have a reason to do just that.

A study done by the College Board for the 2007-2008 school year shows that undergraduate students borrowed an average of $3,650 in federal student loans. Combine that with private loans and credit cards, and many students are left with a seemingly insurmountable amount of debt after graduation. Buying everything you possibly can over the holiday season will just dig you deeper into the hole you’re already in.

This year, I challenge U students and faculty to take a different approach to the holidays. Instead of buying a $200 Biscuit the Animatronic Puppy for your nephew, try fixing up a sweet old cruiser bike from the DI and teaching him how to ride it. Instead of buying your parents a Roku Netflix player for $100, try making them some dinner or actually spending some time with them. You could even join them for a holiday church service, if that’s what your family enjoys. There are thousands of alternative options that are still in the spirit of the holidays that don’t involve spending your life savings on material objects.

Even if someone has been infected with the holiday zombie shopping syndrome, there is still hope. All one has to do is be smart and socially conscious, and not forget what the true spirit of the holidays is supposed to be about.

[email protected]