Black Friday

I blame years of newspaper reporting over my distaste of Black Friday.

After all, it’s the media that whole-hardheartedly embraces any excuse for advertising revenue. And who can blame them? Money is how their business stays afloat.

Listen to the ads on TV, all urging you to part with your money. Look how fat the newspaper is getting with sales fliers as the holidays near.

My e-mail boxes have been stuffed with promotional copy for weeks.

Merchants want me to go to the mall, or Wal-Mart, or one of the tech stores. And spend my money.

Buying early Christmas presents. Treating myself, too.

Eating something other than leftovers for lunch or dinner. Or both.

But I’m holding out.

It’s far too early to think about Christmas. My soul’s not ready.

Shoot, when did we decide to go from Halloween right into Christmas anyway?

Especially when there’s something called “Thanksgiving” in between. The day we’re supposed to give thanks, relax with family and friends, eat ourselves into a stupor. Succumb to the L-tryptophan in turkey and take a nap.

Not go shopping.

When I was working as a newspaper journalist, every year I’d head out early on Black Friday. I’d go to the mall (why traipse all over town when the mall was where the shoppers were?)

I’d survey the landscape a while, then pick some unsuspecting “victim” to drill:

  • How long did you have to wait in line?
  • What are you buying that you couldn’t get some other time?
  • Do you do this every year?
  • What do you like best about Black Friday?

That sort of thing.

Most interviewees were pretty agreeable, as I recall. They were tickled at being picked, eager to see their names in print, and helpful in pointing out other people I should talk to.

But mingling with the masses wasn’t where I wanted to be. I wanted to be home with my family. Playing board games or cards. Sipping hot cocoa with marshmallows. Sampling the leftovers. Watching football on TV.

There are folks who enjoy the bustle of Black Friday. The crowds. The sales.

Some, I suppose, get it ALL done on that day, and that must be an incredible feeling.

Still, I won’t be joining them this year.

Call me jaded, but I feel sure a month is enough time for me to carefully pick out Christmas presents, rather than grabbing stuff just because I see someone else wants it.

To leisurely shop when it’s convenient for me, rather than when the stores tell me I should arrive.

To get into the proper frame of mind for giving. And receiving.

How about you? Do you do Black Friday?

Note: Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

27 thoughts on “Black Friday

  1. I’m with you 100% on this. And I do more and more of my shopping on-line. No crowds. No traffic. No parking. No getting there and finding out it’s not there. I like to get out and enjoy the trees and the window shopping and the music and watching the shoppers – with no hurry or pressure to buy.

    • Online shopping is the perfect solution, isn’t it? Still, every so often, I find myself wanting to feel the materials, try on to make sure the sizing is right, smell the candle or cologne for myself, etc. Now if somebody could just make that happen…!

  2. My preference for shopping is without crowds. My daughter, on the other hand, loves the hustle and bustle of a crowd for perking up her mindset for the season. We compromise — she goes shopping, I stay home. 🙂

  3. Happy Thanksgiving.
    I have never shopped Black Friday. I do have friends who go out for breakfast before the crack of dawn and enjoy a full day of hustle, bustle, crowds. However, even they have concerns about the newest trend of starting Black Friday by opening the stores on Thanksgiving eve…It just seems wrong on so many levels. Walmart, of-course, is one of the biggest offenders. Nordstroms in Chicago this year announced it would not decorate or start Christmas until the Friday after Thanksgiving. Marketing? Sure but really, really good marketing.
    I love to shop, buy and give but like you refuse to steal someones else’s holiday, or give up time with my family, friends and leftovers if I don’t have too.

    (Odd is still down. Hope today is the charm.)

    • I love good marketing and I think Nordstroms is onto something! It just feels so greedy when stores don’t take down the Halloween decorations before they start playing Christmas songs. The poor employees can’t afford (in this economy) to protest too much because they can easily be replaced. Still, they should be able to enjoy family-time, too. Anything I can help with to get Odd back on track? (Remember, I’m a Web Designer, not a computer geek!)? But I miss reading you! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  4. We’re on the same wavelength, Debbie! I have gone out with my husband on Black Friday (while a grandparent stays with the kids). We don’t bother looking at the big ticket items, but we have picked up a griddle, waffle iron, clothing, pajamas, things like that. I haven’t decided if I’ll venture out this year. If I do, it’s not going to be on Thursday or so early on Friday I’m standing in line just to get in the store 🙂

    I prefer online shopping myself and often stalk internet deal sites for several weeks, tracking price fluctuations before finally purchasing. (Already got my older son’s gift purchased and know exactly what I’m getting my younger son.)

    Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!

    • You’re a wise shopper, Janna — good for you, good for your family! I’m all for bargains, but too many people are shopping just to shop, grabbing whatever they see without knowing whether it’s truly a bargain or if anyone on their gift list needs/wants it. That, I can do without!

  5. No Black Friday for me. As a matter of fact, there won’t be any malls or shopping frenzy for me, period. I have the few “things” I wanted for people tucked away already, and most of my other gifts will be home-baked or home-crafted.

    I do enjoy a little shopping during the season, but that’s usually a trip or two to a special place like Galveston or Fredericksburg, where we can enjoy the decorations and festivities. If we pick up a gift or two, that’s fine, but it isn’t the purpose of the trip.

    I love Christmas too much to spend it shopping in the middle of a horde of pushy-shovey people yelling “gimmegimmegimme”!

    • What a delightful take — thank you for being a voice of sanity! I like the idea of sharing the sights on your trips and picking up a few treasures while you’re at it. Pushy-shovey crowds aren’t at all what this season is about!

  6. Debbie- Maybe the French have the right idea. The government allows sales only twice during the year, once in Jan and then again in July. Of course people over here are just as crazy when it comes to a bargain, Parisian are trampled twice a year trying to get the best deal!

    • Pat, I heard about all kinds of people being shoved to the ground, pushed, yelled at, etc. Life is too short to have to put up with that kind of rudeness, and frankly, I work too hard for my money to not enjoy a leisurely shopping trip! Bargains I understand, but being trampled, no. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

    • Thanks, Lynne, it was a GREAT game, though we had to watch on TV because they didn’t take the Band! What’s truly amazing is that this year started so inauspiciously — NO ONE thought they’d be 12 and 0 at this point!

    • Ah, Barb, I’m ecstatic for them! And to have it happen during Domer’s senior year is added bonus. It’s fun being on the winning side, and now we’re looking forward to Miami in January!

    • Good for you, Kim! Bed sounds like a much better place than all those stores, with their grabby crowds, scarcity of advertised items, noise and confusion! I just hate being coerced into shopping.

  7. I share your feelings completely. I tried the Black Friday thing for the first time this year… as a favor to my son’s girlfriend. We waited in line, in the cold, in the wind, with a bunch of other crazy people. And in my mind, it wasn’t really worth it; not for me, anyway. She is a young woman, working full time and going to school full time. She picked up something for her sister at a great price. So I know why she wanted to do it. But I prefer a leisurely Thanksgiving weekend, lounging at home, not leaving the house.

    • Lounging in my warm house is a much better place to spend the Thanksgiving weekend, Terri. I realize some people love the crowds and the excitement of searching for bargains, but I’ve found that if you really didn’t know what the normal asking price for something was, you usually don’t end up with the bargain you think you got!

  8. Pingback: Cyber Monday, Shopping Reminder Day, Cake Day

  9. My opinion is…….
    1. I don’t want stores to open AT ALL on Thanksgiving!!!! My daughter had to work this year.

    2. Black friday is always going to be with us so…If you want to do it…it’s a personal choice and OK.

    3. Will it ever be possible to put Jesus back in the wonderful CHRISTmas season? I love the Christmas season…but I do celebrate the season with Jesus at the focus of it all.

    It’s up to people to decide how far they will go with all of this. As a mother of 6 kids…we celebrated but never went overboard with all of Christmas holiday. Our kids had gifts, the tree the whole thing…but we let them know and see that our focus was on Jesus Christ whose birthday we were celebrating.

    This year was very special because we made it through the worst storm in 100 years!! We lost a lot…but we’re alive and well and things are replacable. None of us felt like shopping on black friday. We just wanted to thank God for sparing our lives.

    • Tragedies sure have a way of putting things into perspective, don’t they, Tanya? I’m sorry your daughter had to work on Thanksgiving, but at least she has a job when so many don’t. And I’m sorry your family had to endure Sandy’s wrath, but again, you’re blessed to have each other and your lives! Thanks for pointing out what’s truly important at this time of year!

  10. Debbie, I heard Stephen Colbert say on last night’s show, you can tell it’s almost Christmas, because his house is all decked out for Easter! Just making the point that we do rush the holidays. Sigh. I’m not ready, either. Another year flies by.

  11. Debbie, this consumerism tendency is what has ruined the holidays for me. No longer do we call to say hello to relatives or even get a Christmas card in the mail without hearing the dreaded question, “What do you want for Christmas?” I miss the times when this holiday was about the importance of family, compassion, sharing, and the birth of Christ. This year I am refusing to buy presents for anybody. The Daughter (a shopaholic) has already confirmed she’s coming home for the holidays (yay!) and I’ve told her we’re limiting ourselves to TWO stocking stuffers which have to be under five dollars. That’s right. We’re going back to old times–when we made handmade presents and wrote poems. Yes indeed! 🙂

    • Lady, I so admire you for this! You’ll have to post about how it turns out, okay? I’m with you 100%. Gone are the days when we focused on what’s truly important at this time of year. It’s merely become an excuse to buy for the sake of buying, then stand in line to return it and get something you really wanted. We all should try going back to old times. Well said!

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