The turkey is sitting in the brine. The cranberry is coagulating in the fridge. And, the china is washed and dried. It’s Thanksgiving week and other than the customary gut busting meal, there is the annual tradition of mayhem that is Black Friday. Black Friday is a personal struggle for me. I am a penny-pincher, scrimp-saver to the core, but I hate shopping. I mean I really H-A-T-E shopping. I don’t have the patience for the hunt and the hemming-hawing and I am generally annoyed by the oblivious lack of awareness that most shoppers exhibit. And, throw a wiggly, whiny toddler into the mix, and I’m done for. But, on the flip side of things – I love saving money. I get giddy at the prospect of a good deal and I go ga-ga over one of kind finds at affordable prices.
And, this is where Black Friday comes into play. Every year I toy with participating in it. In the beginning, I made the naïve mistake of thinking the digital camera or DVD player I was hunting down for $10 (!!) would still be there even if I was the upteenth person in line at 4:00am. EEERR! Wrong plan, Stan. So, my plan was fine tuned, the organization level upped and the caffeinated drinks prepped. But, no matter the level of involvement and the “fun side” I tried to add – I hated the experience. I was still nauseatingly full from the day before, exhausted from eating and cooking and the whole thing just made me grumpy.
I go back and forth, but I see it. I see what Black Friday is. It’s a crazy phenomenon that feeds off peer pressure. The mere thought of missing out on a deal brings out the claws and the green faces of envy. In the extreme, people have been killed – stampeded to death. Bodies and feet running over the top of another human being – a life – and crushing them. Yes, it’s the one in a million tragedy, but one just has to watch the ensuing madness as the doors open and realize that every sale hovers on the precipice of extreme. One has to step back and ask: How is this thankful? How is this blessed behavior? How does this ring in the holiday season – the season of giving?
And, it’s getting more ridiculous by the year. Forget 5:00am wake ups, we’re talking midnight ringing or even Thanksgiving evening sales. Why aren’t these people – the ones working at the store to sell the good deals – at home, enjoying a meal with their families?
And, I fully understand what Black Friday has become in today’s economy. For some, it’s a desperate attempt to stretch that dollar one more inch. I get it. I get the pack mentality. I get the financial climate and budget crunchers. But, what I don’t get is how this holds true to the season.
And, when I look in the mirror and step back to think about what we are doing, I wonder – how does this annual tradition fall in line with my goals, my choices and my desires?
The alarm clock buzzing at 3:00am doesn’t fit in. The maniacal pacing outside the store awaiting opening doors doesn’t work. I’ll still ask Jacob to get the newspaper tomorrow and I’ll spend my evening flipping aimlessly through the store ads. And, you might even find us at one of the stores – but we’ll be snatching that gardening set on aisle 74 that nobody is fighting over. Or, maybe a set of snow boots for Beckett because she has grown three inches in the past two months and we are battling sub-zero temperatures here.
It’ll be a family affair set to our beat. Our schedule. Our timeframe. And, if we – me, Jacob and Beckett – can’t do it in the spirit of this season of thanks and giving – we just won’t do it.
This year our shopping is gonna be done a little differently. A little bit wiser. A little more “used”-friendly. And, a whole lot more fun.
Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours! Here’s to a blessed holiday season.
Up and coming this week:
The Thanksgiving menu at the Ferry house.