Saturday, November 26

Bah Humbug to Black Friday shopping

I think I'm in the minority of people who choose to say no to Black Friday shopping and just sleep in. This year some stores (Walmart, Toys R Us, Target and others) opened Thanksgiving evening. And the people came. Not only did they show up, some of them started camping out in front of the stores on Tuesday! One couple had a young child with them. So they were going to stay out overnight for several days and spend their Thanksgiving in a tent!

Nope. Not me. A sale is never as important as spending time with my family on Thanksgiving.

You know what will happen now, don't you? The stores will declare that the customers loved this new opening time, are willing to come and shop and so they'd probably come out even earlier. Pretty soon we'll have people rushing out to shop between the turkey and the pumpkin pie. Or ... they'll skip it all together and just camp out like that couple with the child did. I'd love to hear this kid's memories of Thanksgiving. Oh, yes, we spent the week camping and shivering. Then Dad would go to Wawa and bring us back Gobblers (turkey, stuffing, gravy & cranberry sauce either in a bowl or in a sandwich). Then the store would open and we'd have a race to see who got the most the fastest. And one year, I even got pepper sprayed in the face!

Yep, this year a woman brought pepper spray into Walmart with her. She was determined to move all those cattle, I mean, customers out of her way so she could get everything on her list. She pepper sprayed about two dozen people right in the face, got her stuff, went to the check-out line, paid and left. Okay, so you know there were people who saw this but no one stopped her. Walmart has employees on the floor. I know they would much rather have been with their families but where were they? Did no one see this woman? I'm willing to grant that the cashiers didn't see her commit assault because they were probably very busy checking out all the other shoppers. So this woman assaulted two dozen shoppers and got away with it.

You know, this may start an ugly trend when shoppers want to get other shoppers out of the way. Thursday it was pepper spray. What will it be next time?

Rich and I went out on the first Black Friday event I can remember in 1999 or 2000. We were up at 3 or 4 in the morning and it was cold. We had to bring the kids with us because we had no babysitter. That was the first turn-off, looking at those poor, sleepy, shivering kids. Rich blasted the heat and stayed in the car with the kids while I went from store to store and did the shopping. We got some good deals, it's true, but many items were "bait and switch" to get you to spend more. That was the only time I went Black Friday shopping. I didn't think the bargains were so great that I'd drag my kids out of a sound sleep and put them in a cold car. There's no way I wanted to be getting up that early either!

About all those bargains I saw people carting away, I wondered how much of it was truly Christmas presents and how much I-want-it-for-myself gifts. I read a short article somewhere about the large amount of money people spend on self-gifting. I mean, who's getting that 55" flat screen TV? Or that new iPod or iPad?

I don't want other people's selfishness and stores' greed dictating when I'm going to shop. There will be no Black Friday or Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday for me. I have a budget and a list I'm working with and will go in my own time. I may not save a ton of money but I think I'll have fun choosing gifts for everyone.

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