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.