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Buyer’s Remorse

Some of you are aware that I braved a recent, cold, dark, early Friday morning to join with thousands of others in the adventure commonly known as “Black Friday” shopping. There were several things “on my list” as I ventured out that morning. I wasn’t able to secure all of the items, but I came home with a couple of things, nonetheless. I went to bed at 6:30 that Friday morning feeling pretty good about my shopping trip. Five hours later, when I woke up, that good feeling had gone.

Buyer’s Remorse is defined as, “the sense of regret after having made a purchase.” According to the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, this feeling “may stem from a sense of not wishing to be wrong, of guilt over extravagance, or of suspecting having been “snowed” by a sales associate.” By mid-day on Friday I was experiencing buyers remorse.

It wasn’t that I’d felt “snowed” by a salesman or purchased anything extravagant. My bounty for the day included two games for the Wii, each bought for half-price, and two DVD box-sets of television series that were specially priced at $12 each. At first-blush, I thought I’d done alright, and then I began to consider my motives in making these purchases.

The initial twinges of remorse came soon after my wife asked if all of my shopping had been for myself or if I’d purchased anything for anyone else. I admitted it was all for me. As I thought for a while about my selfishness, I began to also examine the utility of each of my new possessions. I began to realize that all of those things shared one common purpose : distraction. Whether it be the video games or the television series, each of these was intended to steal my attention away from real life. It was then I came to understand an elemental truth – I am distracted enough already!

Needless to say, all of those purchases were returned. The money that I’d spent on those things was redirected to pay off some credit card debt. In the end, I’ll be better off with those decisions, but this episode brings up an interesting observation.

It’s easy to get carried away in all of the “holiday hoopla.” The print advertising and on-air commercials lead us to believe that we simply can’t live without that limited-edition, one-of-a-kind item. (Whatever that may be.) So we join the clamoring throng and rush right out to buy it. (Whatever it is.) We may only use the gizmo one time and then throw it in the junk drawer where it never sees the light of day again. But we had to have it, didn’t we? (Whatever the cost.)

Now, I’m not saying that I’ll never again lose my head in holiday madness. The older I get, the more apt I am to forget things. In a year or three, I may be right back there reveling in the Black Friday Bacchanalia. But not so this year. This shopping season I vow to be a little more sober-minded, a little less spend-thrift, and maybe, just maybe, there’ll be a few extra coins in the pocket to put towards holiday goodwill.

Here’s praying that your only remorse this holiday season is – not that you ran out of resources or desire – but that you were so busy doing good for others that you ran out of time!

God bless and Merry Christmas,

Pastor Clint

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