I ordered a new phone case. He slept on the sideroad.
We have just passed Black Friday and any other excuse for excessive consumption before Christmas crazy spending. Usually, I am all against this kind of event. I am the kind of person everybody hates because I keep reminding others that capitalism makes us miserable and unhappy. That we should focus on people and reduce our attachment to things.
But this year, I just forgot all about it. I wasn’t planning to make any particular purchases, and the whole “special offers thing” just slipped my mind.
I use AdBlock in my browser to avoid advertisements as much as possible. Some webs don’t allow it, but for the most part, it works pretty well. Mainly, I am not the victim of aggressive marketing. I still have to swallow a few ads, of course. I did hear of the coming Black Friday; I just didn’t know on which days it fell this year.
To give a bit of context, a few months ago, I noticed my phone was freezing increasingly often. This is a long story that I am going to make short by saying that I ended up buying a new phone case. For me, the moment I bought it was just any day, but it was not.
I made the order only a few days before I left for a long trip. I was driving from the Netherlands to Spain, and of course, I wanted to have my new phone case. I was a bit disappointed to see that the expected arrival day was the same day I was leaving. Actually, it could be that day or two days later. Anyway, right before I got into my car, I checked the mail, and there it was.
Yes, I bought the damned phone case on Black Friday week. A phone case might seem like a small detail, but it felt huge when later I witness the struggles of those in charge of delivering my little acquisition with my own eyes.
We buy plenty of things all year round. We do it as often as our pockets allow it and as much as our desires demand it. More often than not, those things are our emotions bottled up into impulses and transformed into objects that are supposed to bring us happiness. And if we dare to question it, we have plenty of excuses to confront any remorse.
“I deserve it.”
“It’s only a few bucks!”
“It was cheaper, and I needed it anyway.”
When we left home for our trip, I wasn’t thinking about that. I was more worried about the affairs of long travels. We were driving nearby Paris when we had to decide where to spend the night. We have a small van, and we resolved to save some money and sleep in it, even though winter is the worst time for such an adventure.
While looking for a nice spot, I started to pay attention to other people on the road. There was no other van. A few cars pass by, probably stopping for a coffee in order to stay alert during their last driving hour. And then, a thousand trucks. It was full of trucks.
We had made this trip before, so I shouldn’t be surprised by it, should I?
But there was something different. I am not talking about parking lots full of trucks. I am talking about truck drivers sleeping beside the highway, right on the roadside, nearly touching the hard shoulder. And it was not an eccentric and patientless driver. No. It was one truck after the other. Quite a few kilometres of professional drivers unable to find a parking lot where to spend the night. Now, parked without a bathroom or a warm cup of tea. All of it so I could have a new phone case for my trip to Spain.
I, the proud woman full of principles, was a participant in their exploitation.
I wish I had gotten something clear out of all of this, but the truth is: I ignore how to do better. I am trying to figure out how to fight against these injustices without adding to them, but no answers have come to me. Only one question:
Are we left so powerless that we can’t avoid hurting the weakest?
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