Black Friday deals welcomed, but not boorishness

Black Friday has somehow become a day that I love and hate at the same time.

It’s like the pair of earrings that I didn’t know I needed, then I saw them, at a deal of a price, and then I had to have them, and I cursed the fact that suddenly I couldn’t live without them.

Celebrated on the day following American Thanksgiving, Black Friday is typically the largest retail shopping day of the year as Americans tend to do their Christmas shopping that day. As a non-participant back a decade ago, I was amazed at the Americans and their ability to flip holidays overnight, including switching over house and yard decorations from Thanksgiving to Christmas, without missing a beat. They bettered our merchants’ turnaround from Halloween to Christmas by weeks.

The news coverage of Black Friday sales in the United States was baffling to me. Seeing near riots and hearing about assaults in stores as people tried to secure the items they wanted was beyond my comprehension. How could a person sit around a table one night saying how thankful they were for everything in their lives, and then the next day, ironically, clothesline a little old lady in a store to buy items that became more important than goodwill toward man?

Canadian retailers always had Boxing Day sales that would rival Black Friday, but as a consumer, I felt ripped off that what was under the Christmas tree would be 50 per cent off the next day. Luckily, our retailers got on the Black Friday bandwagon and now there are lineups for door crasher specials here as well.

Note that a couple of paragraphs ago I said Black Friday is celebrated, because for the mass consumers it is almost like a holiday, something you have to plan ahead for, make decisions about whom you will spend it with, what you will wear, eat, and do to maximize your time.

For clothing, one must dress in comfortable tight clothing and easy to remove shoes, that ideally allows for another layer to be tried on over top in case you can’t brave the lines for the change rooms. Meals are often skipped while focussing on the list of hot deals, so shoppers also have to consider packing snacks into coat pockets (unless they left coats in the car to minimize bulk and sweating). Whom you decide to spend Black Friday with is also important, because like any holiday celebration, inviting the wrong person can lead to disastrous results. You must have a like-minded individual whom is prepared to power shop until they drop, if that is your goal.

Truly, I love Black Friday because I really enjoy keeping my money in my bank account. If I am able to buy presents that I was going to buy anyhow, but get them at a reduced price, that makes me very happy. I feel like I have cheated the system somehow.

Then there is the element of the Black Friday deal. Who doesn’t love a good deal? I might even buy two of something, even though I may only need one, thinking that I can give someone the other “one.”

What I don’t love about Black Friday are the parking lots full of bad drivers with low patience. I also dislike the lack of shopping etiquette, and the feeling of anxiety about whether I may or may not leave the store with the item I was seeking.

My biggest dislike about Black Friday is that if I haven’t planned in advance for what I want to buy, I feel like I am missing out now. Perhaps because I am not American, and don’t know the date of American Thanksgiving, Black Friday often creeps up on me and I am left scrambling last minute to figure out what to focus my attention on.

So like the earrings I didn’t know that I needed and then couldn’t live without, Black Friday has become a day that I love to hate, and yet don’t want to miss out on. Thankfully, those earrings did go on Black Friday sale, and I won’t need to think about them not being part of my existence anymore.

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