Keep Your Super-Savings, I Refuse To Leave My House On Black Friday

You want to know what weekend I go shopping? I take my Christmas lists and head to the local Toys ‘R’ Us the weekend before Thanksgiving. Why would I do such a thing, with all those great deals waiting just on the other side of Turkey Day? Because I hate Black Friday. In fact, I refuse to leave the house on America’s second favorite day of consumption.

It’s not that I have a problem waiting in line. I don’t whine during the queue at amusement parks. I don’t tap my foot at the pharmacy. I like to think of myself as a pretty patient person. I could easily hang out for a half hour to get an extra 20% off  cashmere sweaters or Tonka trunks.

It can’t be the early mornings that make Black Friday so unappealing. For the past three years, I’ve been waking up at 5:30am to get my daughter to daycare and myself to work by 7:30. My husband confirms that I’m obnoxiously awake first thing in the morning. If I want to fit in a workout before I go to the office, that means a 4:30am alarm. I don’t do it as often as I should, but it’s not completely impossible. All in all, I don’t think the early mornings keep me away. I’m a firm believer that Starbucks could still get me through an all-nighter if it had to.

The only major component left to dissuade me from those super-savings is the crowds. Hundreds of people flooding into stores, crowding in entryways and barreling through the registers… I admit that it seems a tad intimidating. But I have never once felt claustrophobia. I can squeeze my way to the front of a concert. I can weave in and out of heavy foot traffic with relative ease.

So if it isn’t the crowds, lines or early hour that keeps me cuddled in bed on the day after Thanksgiving, what could it be?

It’s the competition. Black Friday turns consumption into a contact sport, complete with aggression and one-upsmanship. Christmas shopping is supposed to be an enjoyable time to pick out thoughtful gifts for the people I love most in my life. Shopping on the day after Thanksgiving seems to be all about saving more money than everyone around you and beating everyone to the most-wanted presents.

Christmas shopping should not have winners and losers. And focusing on saving more than everyone else makes people lose sight of the reasons why we buy gifts. Instead of worrying about how much money I’m saving, I would rather think about the look on my daughter’s face as she rips open a package. I want to bring an endearing tear to my mother-in-law’s eye. I want my dad to be so excited about whatever awesome techie present I got him that he starts playing and forgets to open the rest of his gifts. These are the things that I want to occupy my mind as I’m perusing the stores and deciding on my purchases.

Black Friday has very little to do with the holidays anymore. It’s basically the Superbowl of Savings. And for my holiday shopping, I would rather stay out of the game and above the fray. I’ll happily pay a little extra to keep the holiday spirit in my Christmas gift-giving.

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    • AKatC

      Does anyone ever edit your articles? Jeez…

    • Melinda

      My mother and I go Black Friday shopping together. Fun times, and it’s hilarious to see so many frazzled people running around. Not to mention, who DOESN’T love a good deal when it’s available? Sure, I love Christmas shopping as much as the next person, but If I can save 20% and throw in an extra gift or two for someone, I’m gonna take it. No use breaking the bank for the sake of a few tears.

    • Amanda Low

      I think you make a fantastic point. Black Friday absolutely takes the joy out of the season — not to mention it’s downright scary how aggressive people can become when there’s the prospect of saving a few bucks. I went out out Black Friday (early in the morning – 3ish) last year to see what all the hype was about, and it was frightening. My husband and I didn’t even buy anything, it was so frustrating. And what happens if there’s a fire? At Target we were seriously packed like sardines and couldn’t squeeze our way back through the crowd to get out. It probably took us 30 minutes to walk from the back to the front of the store.

    • Ellie

      Hear, hear! I also dislike how the stores are working so hard to cash in on people’s greed that their employees are being stuck with longer and longer hours, and this year starting to have to give up more of their own family time. The employees are people too!

    • Jeff Burdick

      Here’s one way to make Black Friday almost bearable: Play Ugg Slugg! Full rules in this YouTube humor video: http://tinyurl.com/764wl5l

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