Black Friday Confessions

This last weekend, my Facebook feed was full of posts from friends announcing their abstention from the madness known as Black Friday. I admire these people, much as I admire my friends who run marathons or stick to hard diets. I wasn’t one of them.

With my mother, brother, and sister-in-law, I spent time on Thursday looking through the newspaper ads. After a day spent cooking, eating, nursing the baby, and playing tag with the older children, when night came, my mom and I headed out to the stores. And you know what? We had a great time. While there were a lot of shoppers out, most of them were pleasant and courteous. (Although granted, we avoided the big chain stores that tend to be the worst offenders in Black Friday craziness and stuck with an outlet mall that was hosting a “midnight madness” sale.)

I know that a lot of people have strong opinions about this commercialized post-Thanksgiving ritual. Some people love the rush of the hunt, of scoring an incredible deal. Others (like my husband) couldn’t be paid enough to brave the crowds. Still others don’t appreciate the over-commercialized focus of the rush, or the tendency of crazed shoppers to forget their apparent humanity.

For me, though, the ritual isn’t really about any of this. While I admit that my mom and I did find some great deals, what I enjoy most is the chance to spend one-on-one time with my mom. We talk about her work (she’s planning to retire soon) and my kids. We talk about concerns we share and hopes that we have. And we shop. Of course, there are probably other ways that we could spend quality time together, but this annual ritual is one that we enjoy, and one that works for us.

So. This is my confession: I shopped on Black Friday. And I enjoyed it.

What about you? What’s your take on Black Friday? Do you love it? Loathe it? Couldn’t care less?

About Rosalyn

(Prose Board) currently lives in Southern Utah with her husband and three small children, where she teaches writing part-time at the local university. She has a BA in English from BYU, and an MA and PhD (also in English) from Penn State. She served a mission in the Hungary Budapest mission. In her spare time (what's that?) she likes to read, write, try new recipes (as long as she doesn't have to clean up), watch movies with her husband (British period drama is her favorite), go for walks, and generally avoid anything that resembles housework.

15 thoughts on “Black Friday Confessions

  1. My husband is one that would rather die too. I really enjoy being out in the rush and bustle on Friday, but I’ve never been so desperate for deals that I’d get up before my usual time or stand in line waiting to be trampled for a chance at a door buster. I didn’t manage to make out to shops on Friday this year, but I did manage to get about half of my shopping for my kids done on Saturday.

    I’m personally avoiding the stores that opened on Thursday this year. My little protest will probably go unnoticed, but I’m not pleased with the idea of corporate greed taking over the gratitude holiday, and I feel for the employees that get no time off anymore.

  2. I did some shopping on Friday and I feel no guilt. We were satisfied because we got shopping out of the way. My husband and I got some good deals on some things that we needed anyway. We got our gifts for the kids. We plan spending the rest of the Christmas season enjoying traditions, celebrating the birth of the Lord and hopefully serving others.

  3. A few years ago I had to run an errand at the mall on the day after Thanksgiving–I had never shopped at Black Friday before and had forgotten that it existed. On that day I decided to stop at a children’s clothing store to check out their sale and ended up buying my kids matching jammies for Christmas. Well, a tradition was born and now they want jammies every year. So I get up Friday morning, go to that one store to get jammies, and come back home. I also bought them some clothes this year because I rarely buy them good quality clothes that are new (we usually rely on hand-me-downs and the thrift store).

    I actually bought most of my gifts already on Amazon–I have a rewards credit card that I use all the time and then save up the rewards points to buy gifts. We keep Christmas pretty simple with just 2 or 3 presents each so it’s easy to get shopping done early. There’s no way I’d ever go shop at a big box store with the crazy sales and crazy people.

  4. Black Friday shopping, even starting at midnight, doesn’t bug me. I don’t want to do it, but I don’t see anything wrong with it. I am, however, seriously annoyed by the Thursday night shopping. The stores are going to be open earlier and earlier–it started with midnight, then moved back to 8 p.m. and now there are stores open at 5 p.m. Pretty soon it will be noon, and then it will be 8 a.m. It will never go back the other way. Like a previous poster, I’m dismayed to see a holiday devoted to Gratitude give way to a holiday devoted to greed and acquisition of MORE.

  5. I love Black Friday shopping — or to be more exact, I love Thanksgiving Thursday NIGHT deals. I am just fine with 8 pm or later — prefer it rather than getting up at O’Dark Thirty. I think everyone’s itching to get out by that time in the evening, anyway. We were all done by 10:30 pm this year and slept in on Friday morning. I am very against stores that are open earlier in the day on Thanksgiving, though. We shall see what next year brings. I like that the stores were all staggered with their openings this year. We did the 2 big ones: WalMart and Target. I love the rush and the excitement. It’s a lot of fun, and I have never seen the pushing/shoving/meanness that they like to put on the news.

  6. I much prefer the American tradition of Black Friday to the Canadian tradition of Boxing Day. At least with Black Friday you can go shopping for Christmas gifts for everyone. Boxing Day is just about going shopping for more stuff for yourself one day after you have just been showered in Christmas gifts!

  7. I completely ignore Black Friday. Perhaps if I had relatives for whom shopping can be a form of connection and a venue for conversation, or a source of memories of a family tradition like yours do, I might consider it, but in general mine (including me) find shopping makes conversation unsatisfying, so we have no particular social or traditional reason to do the Black Friday thing.

    Though I understand people who enjoy the hustle and bustle and/or deal-finding of holiday shopping I prefer shopping that is calm and quiet. So I tend to shop before Thanksgiving and have my family conversations and connections in other venues and traditions.

  8. I find myself caught up in the consumerism of it all myself. I went out at 10:00 pm on Thursday night and was able to get a great deal on a lap top for my graduating senior as well as some other gifts for my other children. I don’t like the fact that the stores are opening earlier and earlier, but I have found myself hooked into the idea of getting a “good deal”.
    I refuse to get angry or get caught up in the pushing and shoving that I have seen though. Last year I unintentionally got stuck in the middle of a a huge crowd pushing through for a tablet that was on sale. I will never put myself in that type of situation again. It has become a family tradition to go out together. My kids are old enough that they don’t care about surprises. They always tell me that they will forget what we bought until after Christmas. :)

  9. I rarely go shopping on Black Friday because I dislike big crowds. However, if there is a big-ticket item that I’ve been saving up for, I figure we might as well try to get it when it’s cheap on Black Friday (for example, last year we bought a laptop). No big deal if we don’t manage to get it that day, though. I’m not getting involved in the crazy intensity that some people bring to the table.

  10. I love Black Friday. I started doing it 3 years ago. We strategize after Thanksgiving dinner, put kids to bed, and have all our shopping done before daybreak.

    With the shopping done, I feel like I enjoy the month of December so much more.

    And, while I loved the convenience of 9 pm Thursday night openings, I am conflicted about how that affects the employees who have to come into work. Do they get enough time with their families?

  11. My daughters and I do black Friday shopping for the exact same reason – it’s quality together time, thrown in with some good deals on things we need anyway.

  12. I’ve gone out on Black Friday for curiosity, for fun with good friends, and a few deals (that I could have found in the weeks afterwards). Usually the most coveted items are in short supply and not worth the hassle. So I don’t go out anymore, my sanity is worth the slightly higher prices. Cyber Monday was good to me though!

    I feel very strongly about not going out on holidays. Even if you don’t want to be home with your family other people do. These huge sales starting on Thanksgiving are not just a sign of materialism’s increase, but our disregard for our fellow man behind the cash register. A man in our ward works for Target and had to work starting on Thanksgiving and throughout the weekend, despite the fact that his children had a short break home from college to spend with him. I’ve worked in retail, it ruined my holidays, I won’t do that to someone else.

  13. I’ve never shopped on Black Friday but I see nothing wrong with it. My sister had an interesting observation when we were talking about Black Friday last week– Christ is the light of the world and although we all bemoan the commercialism surrounding His birth, I think Christ smiles on the fact so many business are “in the black” because of Christmas shopping. Think how many families are fed and clothed and pay tithing because of a brisk uptake in commerce!

  14. I have no problem with Black Friday itself. My husband often goes early in the morning to choose something specific that he wants to give the family, some big ticket item. I’ve gone once with sister-in-law, and it was really fun. I do have a huge problem with stores opening on Thanksgiving Day–I think employees should be able to be home with their families. Mostly I don’t do much with Black Friday because the kinds of gifts I like to give are not available at the kinds of stores that do Black Friday sales. I shop mainly online from small family-run stores that sell handmade toys and other items. I have no interest in buying anything at Walmart or the like.

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