I was reminded today by the morning news that Black Friday is less than 11 days away. It stood out to me, mostly because whom ever is in charge of the twitter feed placed the > mark facing the wrong direction, so it came across as ‘Black Friday is > 11 days away. It’s only 140 characters people, proof reading does not take that long. This got me musing on Black Fridays past, and how the day really has lost my interest. Let me rewind a decade or two.
Growing up, Black Friday was always this time for my Dad, Mom and Grandma to head out for the shopping deals. These are the days before all of the Internet specials and stores had to lure you in and keep you inside for awhile to buy their junk. One of the many ways to do this was to offer the ‘Valid 6 am to 10 am’ coupons that they passed out, one to each person. So, in the spirit of Christmas, my Dad would take me along so that I could get another one of these coupons for him to use. If my memory serves me correctly, I would wait in line with him in the cold, bum rush through the doors in the midst of a crowd and then wait off to the side so that I did not see what was being purchased.
And I went back with him year after year. I guess it was the thrill of the hunt, that male thirst for conquest. Or it could be that I am an early riser. Meh.
Once again, going from my memory, which as a child can be polished and silver lined, I recall being able to hit a few stores for these coupons and then go back around to each of them to pickup whatever items were needed. It was fun, and after a few years I began to make my own purchases to cross others off of my shopping list.
I continued this trend for many years, eagerly devouring the Thanksgiving day ads to find those “must have” items. Maybe not what the main stream was looking for, but the “must haves” to complete my shopping list. Soon, this habit began to wane. What used to be a shopping palooza from before God wakes up until the noon lunch of leftovers has turned into a day to hang around the house and stay away from the crazies. Last year I ventured out first thing in the morning (if you can call it morning at that time of day) for one “must have” item: synthetic motor oil. I’m getting old.
More so, I don’t see it so much as me getting too many candles on the cake. I see that my outlook has changed. I can’t really say that I have broken away from the chains of commercialism and being a good consumer (BUY BUY BUY!), but I definitely don’t see the need to go and get some more junk just to fulfill some holiday mandate started up by three wise guys a millennium or two ago.
For those of you who keep tabs on my wife’s Facebook, you probably understand how we are making the effort to live more simply. This involves getting rid of the periphery stuff that you don’t need or use, and also stopping the accumulation of said stuff. I will admit, it has been hard. I have donated/sold/thrown away some things, making room in the house and some money from it, and I have found it hard to not immediately fill in those holes with more ‘stuff’.
So, to tease for another time, Stephanie soon will be writing down her thoughts on keeping things simple for the holiday season. In the meantime, what is your take on Black Friday and holiday shopping? Feel free to discuss in the comments section.