Saturday, November 28, 2009

Black Friday Blues?

Just got back from our whirlwind annual trip. We stay in a different home each night, which means a lot of driving and schlepping in and out with luggage, sleeping bags, and what-not, but it’s all worth it. The family time with relatives is precious, and I am so grateful for it. We played Charades, ate ourselves silly, looked at old photo albums, saw our first snow of the year, and drove halfway around tarnation.

Coming home is a pain. The stuff we take out of the car quickly overwhelms the kitchen and the hallway and is enough to drive me either to distraction or to drink. One of my favorite things to do when I get home from a trip, once I’ve put in the first load of laundry and managed to dig out a place to sit down, is to look over the newspapers that arrived while we were gone.

I am able to pick through and make a nice little stack of my favorite sections only. Everything else goes straight to the recycle bin. It feels decadent to have four days of unread Style sections or Local News to be enjoyed at one sitting. World news? There's always tomorrow.

Today wasn’t as fun for me because of one thing: Black Friday.

With all the traveling and visiting, I can never shop on Black Friday. It’s not that I even like to shop AT ALL, but when if seems like everyone else is doing it, I feel a sense of urgency that comes from peer pressure, I suppose. But the people who are pressuring me aren’t my peers, but the people on TV and in the newspapers and on the radio.

Tom and I are in the market for a new car, and I read that statistically Black Friday is the best day of the YEAR to buy a car. Aargh. Missed it. Now, regardless of which of the 364 other days we choose, we’ll feel like chumps.

Last night, while visiting my dear relatives, it was all I could do to not whip over to the local Walmart and start scooping up socks, undies, and small electronics. Their pristine, country Walmart was just down the road and if our little car hadn’t been packed to the gills with all of our travel crap (and it did feel like crap by day 4), I would have done it. The clown-car situation, with stuffed packed on the dashboard and under our feet, made me sit down at the farm table with a cup of spiced tea and enjoy the company instead. It was the better choice and one I enjoyed thoroughly.

But to arrive home to find my newspapers full of ONE DAY ONLY offers and coupons for a day that had already passed was a little disheartening. It appears that Target, Toys R Us, Michael’s—well, just about everyone—was handing out free money and merchandise on Friday. I almost get the impression the parking lots were paved in gold.

So what’s your take? Did you run around snapping up the deals, or did you lay low? I’m usually finished shopping before Thanksgiving so this year I feel behind before I’ve even started.

Even as I type this I have the urge to hop on over to Amazon to see if there are any good deals left, so I guess I'm pretty caught up in this whole consumer culture. I must say, however, that having the chance to spend time with my 90+ year old grandparents, who have been married 74 years (!!!) was better than any Early Bird Special on the planet.

12 comments:

Carrie Lake said...

You made the right choice--today you might feel like you missed out on something by skipping the quick trip to Walmart, but years down the road you'll remember the time spent at your grandparents house. 74 years of marriage--how amazing! I skipped the shopping on Black Friday and spent a lazy day on my friend's couch dozing off while the rest of her house guests played games--and I don't regret it! Today I took a trip to Walmart and Kmart and wished I had been shopping at Amazon from the comfort of my couch instead.

Kristina P. said...

I'm a big fan of doing online shopping on Black Friday. Still great deals without the craziness.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I would have no problem fighting the crowds - but I could never bring the kids. And Chris hates shopping as it is - so Black Friday shopping didn't happen for us this year.

K a b l o o e y said...

I heard they're extending the "madness" for a while to drum up business. I play that game with the newspapers too if we're away for a few days. When we go on vacation, the dude donates them (not sure how that works but it feels churlish to complain).

Brenda Susan said...

Please do not spend any more time regretting missing Black Friday. Many I talked to were very disappointed in the so-called deals & the TV my siblings & I are getting my folks actually went UP in price on Friday!

I did not go out into that craziness & of course you made the right choice to be with family.

purejoy said...

i have to agree with my friend kelly, who said they'd have to give away something free to get her to go out on black friday.
to brave all the lines, crowds and over-hustle of the day is too much for my weak soul. i spend the day cocooned in the luxuriousness of my home. trimming the tree. listening to old christmas standards. watching some football. making chex mix.

i abhor shopping, too. so that would only add to my abhoringness.

Madge said...

i don't shop on black friday -- although i always say i will next year....

i did end up in a Target at 4:00 in the afternoon Friday and it was CRAZY busy. But got a game for my son at half off......

next year. next year.

L said...

I am sorry I missed the spiced tea at the farm table round, but oh so thankful for the three days of togetherness we did have. No Black Friday for me but Cyber Monday? Perhaps a wee bit.....

Deidra said...

Hanging out with family is way better than shopping on Black Friday any day of the week. You did good. Real good.

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El) said...

After years in retail, I don't do Black Friday. However, one year I was with my sister-in-law, and she had a list, so I went with her. It was fun, I had nothing to buy and she drove, but we didn't go out until well after the sun was up, and so I didn't get the full effect--which is fine by me.

I know it's a tradition for some people to hit the stores, but my tradition is to enjoy people I love and the places I love--my couch reading and the my basement to find Christmas decor I already own...

My father raised me to think that my time was worth more than standing in line for too long, so I have that voice in my head too!

Anonymous said...

I second Dierdra's comment. I haven't bought a thing, and am loving it. I'm sure the panic will set in soon, though.

jbhat

Heidi said...

I just can't do it. I'm Canadian and pretty close to the border, so it would be easy enough to do and I know many, many people went. But, the thought of digging through stuff and standing in long line-ups to get a deal (even a good one) just isn't worth it to me. And I love shopping.