Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Stay alive! I will find you!"

Okay, I've been putting this off, posting pieces about my new exercise challenge, and the inspiration I received for writing a book, and, well, anything else but this topic.

If you know me well, then you already know my opinion on this.

Ok, here goes.

I am completely not down with Black Friday.

And, to go a step further, I don't think you should be either.

Yes, I am an American.

Just stop reading right here if you can't handle the heat.

You say you want to save money and get the best deals for Christmas?

You say it's fun?

You say, "Hey, you're just a kill-joy. Black Friday is an American Tradition. Like Flag Day."

To you I say:
I understand deals. I'm a complete deal seeker. I just don't feel like waking up at 3 AM and fighting traffic and circling a parking lot to find a space only to stand in line with like a trillion other people, who, let's be honest, could care less about my well being and more about whether they'll get to the electronics/toy/whatever department before me (even if they have to trip me), just to save money.

Here's an idea: How about simplifying Christmas by buying less - maybe one or two really nice gifts for your children, the total of which equals the amount you wind up spending on a mountain of meaningless toys, for which you had to risk life and limb and valuable time. Precious time which could have been shared with your kids and your family, and friends, by, say, playing games or watching a movie, or baking, or decorating for Christmas, rather than entering into a full on sprint against total strangers in order to reach the toy department first to grab a toy that will end up irritating you within 5 minutes of the batteries being installed. Can you say Tickle Me Elmo?

No, you be quiet! I told you up front that I am not down with Black Friday, so what did you expect to read here?

You say Black Friday is fun? Yeah, it sounds like a blast.

I'm a negative Nelly? Well, Sherlock, I'll have you know that the original term Black Friday was never a particularly positive title, but, in fact, made reference to some pretty darn tootin' icky days in history. Google it. And the phrase as we know it today, was actually used by newspapers back in the '70's, to describe the extreme hecticness that stores experienced the day after Thanksgiving.

So let me get this straight. Historically, Black Friday was never a good thing. And when newspapers began deeming the day after Thanksgiving as Black Friday, it wasn't initially a compliment, but rather, a phrase used to describe a commonality between the the crowds and the traffic and the sheer craziness of the beginning of the holiday shopping season, with, well, dark historical events.

However, since being in the "black" is a necessity for retailers, they have now hijacked the term, and thus, Black Friday now pays homage to the buying frenzy that will drive retailer's books into the "black".

Well, I'm not bowing to Black Friday.

In fact, and this will make you sick, the "big" presents that my children receive for Christmas (they get a main, or "big" gift from both sets of grandparents and then we supplement with a few other items) have already been purchased, at full price, from a local independently owned toy store, and are resting peacefully in my attic. The owner even helped me carry my bags to the car.

And no one tripped me or slipped a mickey in my coffee, so they could beat me to the Playmobile Egyptian Pyramid. Nope. I pre-ordered it. Months ago.

I realize I'm a bit over the top, but so is Black Friday.

If you are going to participate, let me share with you these words from Sergeant Phil Esterhaus of Hill Street Blues: Hey, let's be careful out there.

And when you come to your senses and realize that I am using this statement in reference to SHOPPING, perhaps you'll join me in on my soapbox.

I'll make room for you.

While pondering your plans for November 27th, check this out.


Valentine J. Brkich said...

Amen, sistah! Down with this rampant consumerism and our "more is better" society. I think Thoreau said it best: "Simplify, simplify, simplify!"

thecurryseven said...

You can't see me nodding my head frantically in agreement. Yes, yes, yes to everything you said!


Amy said...

Well said, Jo! I personally start shopping around September in order to spread out the expenses of gift-purchasing, thus hoping to avoid using a credit card. We buy the girls 3 gifts each, an idea my mom heard from Kathie Lee Gifford (I know, I know). But back then she wasn't so nutzo. Loosely based on the story of Jesus' birth. Kind of cheesy, but it helps me a lot to avoid buying too much. Nathan got up early a couple years ago to get a good deal on a computer monitor. My computer had completely died the week before and we really couldn't afford one at "full price" so he got in line at 4AM to get it for me.

Riki said...

I have NEVER liked Black Friday. I like "Nobody at the stores cause their in work Mondays" myself.

I am shrinking what I give to my family this year and giving to those who really need it.


Robin said...

My family celebrates Thanksgiving on Friday instead of Thursday. Why?
1) If you're flying, Thanksgiving morning is better than the night before (not a lot better, but a little).
2) If anyone needs to do Thanksgiving with two families, it's possible (although not recommended).
3) We'd be hiding in our homes to avoid Black Friday anyway.

FromTheInsideOut said...


Cuppa Jo said...

@ Val: thanks, brotha!

@ e: don't give yourself whiplash. thanks for the props.

@ Amy: Yup, in between Kathy's quirkiness, THIS three gift idea is, well, actually brilliant.

@ Riki: you warm my heart with your desire to give from what you have.

@ Robin: GREAT ideas.

@ InsideOut: Welcome new reader