Saturday, November 30, 2013

Love Shopping But Hate Black Friday Hype

Love Shopping But Hate Black Friday Hype

Anybody who knows me is aware of my affinity and propensity for shopping.  I love to shop online. In my former life, I haunted the malls, alleys, markets, factory stores, warehouses, and carts of discards of whatever locale I called home and searched for bargains, deals, and treasures. But I hate crowds and despise hype. To me the whole concept of “Black Friday” offends my psyche. Bargain hunting is noble.  Camping outside a big box store for days and leaving a family gathering for a discount on a TV, toys, a phone or an appliance and fighting with others for the limited offering is – well – unseemly, tacky, childish, desperate, crazy, and gullible.

Really, does anybody truly believe that eschewing family on the day we Americans are supposed to celebrate thankfulness for what we already have to shop for faux bargains is in any way reasonable? 

It is not that I am against rampant consumerism. It is the American way. Other societies create products or build them. Americans build theme parks, export jobs, rely upon foreign engineers to design American goods, and then encourage our citizens to shop. Our society is based upon consumerism rather than balanced economic theory. We do not advocate savings. We do not advocate repairing what we have or renovating our homes or reupholstering our furniture.  Nope – we discard and buy new.

Consider, however, that the connections we have with the people in our lives are really the most precious of gifts. How can fighting over a discounted 25 inch TV fill a void more than sharing a day with our loved ones? I feel sorry for the unfortunates that have no better way to spend the most special of holidays – our national day of celebrating our good fortune – than pushing through crowds on Thanksgiving evening to “score” a tangible item of questionable value at a “door-buster” price. What? A 25-inch TV!

My mother-in-law and I visited a couple of stores in Winchester, Virginia before seeing “The Hunger Games ~Catching Fire” on Black Friday. We avoided the mall like an infestation of plague. We ordered our movie tickets online the day before Thanksgiving.  We each bought a turtleneck at Chico’s. That was it.  The deal was no better than a regular sale.  We found absolutely nothing worth the 50% off one item at Talbots.  The heat in the Coldwater Creek store was stifling and that store has a sale every week. Oh, I bought some birdseed at Wild Birds Unlimited.  There was a sale but I was not aware of it until I entered the store. I just needed birdseed.  I planned to buy it anyway.

So. I shop online in the privacy of my home whenever the muse strikes. It takes minutes. I don’t fight crowds. I do not desert my family. The deals are great because I always search for coupon codes. I get free shipping and seldom pay sales tax. I save gas, sanity, money and pride.

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