It’s the day after Thanksgiving.
You know what that means.
The fire under your butt to complete all of your holiday shopping has turned up to high.
Ah, “Black Friday.” The anxiety-driven “holiday” with the brazen title that simultaneously suggests magnitude, while unashamedly admitting that this “magnitude” will actually be the money with which retailers line their pockets at the end of the day.
You can’t hear the words “Black Friday” and not be compelled to shop immediately or suffer the consequences … a crappy holiday.
And we buy into it. Literally. Year after year.
Despite 24/7 access to online shopping and highly-prized items available all year long, throngs of people line up outside of stores like they’re about to shake hands with Taylor Swift. They fight over the dwindling items on the shelves and maneuver through thick, anger-fueled lines, as though their very happiness depends on not simply buying that item, but paying the lowest possible price for it.
We’ve seen the carnage — not just in movies like “Jingle All The Way,” but actually in the news. There’s even a list of the top 10 states where you’ll see the most fights break out.
This year, I’m out.
I want civilized transactions. Black Friday offers everything including: people fighting, pushing in line, growling at each other and screaming ... over toys and blenders? Seriously?? Joy to the world, my butt.
This year I’ll pay full price for everything on my list and consider the price difference a fee for my valuable time, sanity and self-esteem.
But there is a snag;, I love to shop. And despite my best efforts I’m intrigued and lured by promotion after promotion that hits my inbox and the piles of catalogs and flyers that land on my doorstep. It’s practically sacrilege to stay home. Right? My instincts poke at my intellect telling me “Just go to Bloomingdale's for an hour. That’s all. You’ll buy a few sweaters for relatives and be home sipping hot cocoa in a new pair of fur-lined slippers you got for 40 percent off, in no time.” It’s a battle to fight the human urge to spend tons of money just to save a little. And more often than I like to admit, I lose.
But not this year. This year, I’m going to give myself the gift of self-esteem. I’m not going to get shoved in line or jockey for a better position at the register so I can save a few extra bucks on stuff neither I nor my family or I really need. I’m not going to curse out the lady who takes the parking spot at the mall I’ve been waiting by for 20 minutes. I’m going to protect my soul. And because of it, every gift I purchase in a civilized fashion will have a better karmic aura and will no doubt bring the recipient added peace.
Yep, I’m making excuses. Trying to give myself a way out. The truth is I live in fear of missing out on a good deal. I hate the idea that someone will beat me to that very last stainless steel Ninja blender that’s 70 percent off for one day only and I’ll be wildly disappointed as they do their victory lap around the appliances aisle. Visions of kale smoothies up in smoke. I don’t even drink kale smoothies, but now, the chance of ever drinking one I made for myself for 70 percent less is gone. Poof! Or is that “cha-ching”?
You see, that’s where they get me. And it’s not fair. Maybe I should turn my loyalties to stores like REI who are making a statement by closing on Black Friday.
Could it be they’re as opposed to the mania as I am? Could they possibly care about my sanity and comfort as much as I do? Maybe they don’t want to muck up the spirit of the holidays by offering the sort of Black Friday deals that compel me to immediately to purchase $300 in fishing equipment I could maybe use if I ever get back to Maine? Nope. They’re saying “No way, people. You can’t have any of our stuff today! We don’t care how much you want it. You can’t have it. We’re not selling it today. Not to you.”
Damn, now I want a tent.
As you can see, this isn’t going to be easy.
So for now, I’m going to shut down my computer. Focus on leftovers and family time. Enjoy some laughter, be grateful for what I have, and just in case I have a lapse in judgement … ask my husband to hide the keys to my car.