To Shop or Not to Shop?

So, another Black Friday has come and well, mostly gone. (It’s 6:30 pm as I type this…I suppose there’s still time to get out there tonight and sift through the remains of your favorite retail spot.) Every year the lure of a better TV, a wish list request from the kids, or that ‘gotta have it’ deal brings the masses out – often in incredibly cold temperatures – to the stores. It is an annual tradition.

The definition of ‘gotta have it’ varies of course. In the end it’s really the question of ‘What is this worth?’ that we’re forced to ask before subjecting ourselves to the certain chaos, guaranteed gridlock, and migraine-inducing madness that is the Friday after Thanksgiving in shopping centers everywhere.

There are two basic sides when it comes to this event. The ‘Yeah there are some really good deals, I’m going to go for it’ side and conversely the ‘What on Earth could possibly possess people to DO this to themselves?’ side.

It’s easy to take the latter side. I mean really, why in the world would someone of sound mind get up, get dressed, and set out into the frigid night several hours before sunrise to wait in long lines for anything short of the Second Coming,  tickets to a Beatles concert back in the day, or possibly a seat at the Super Bowl? The tents outside of Best Buy, set up the night *before* the actual event. The stampedes that take place outside of stores when the doors are opened. The fighting for items once people are inside. The eternal wait in line to check out. Oh…and the chance that you won’t even get what you put yourself through all of this to try and get.

I am pretty sure I would go berserk if that happened. All that time and effort and frozen extremities…for nothing? Ayiee. I feel like telling that to the people waiting in the back of these long lines. I mean honestly, what is the rationale here? There probably aren’t going to be 250 of whatever it is you’re looking for in the store 😉 In the end I just have to believe the folks in the back of the line are just there for ‘the experience’ and this makes me feel a little better…I think. Does anyone sell food or drinks at these things by the way? That seems like a good gig. But I digress.

All of that being said, let’s take a look at the other side. Are you a parent? Grandparent? Caregiver? Responsible for a child in any way? If you’re not, well, hopefully you got a good night’s sleep last night. Those of you who are and who did wake up early, stand in line, and subject yourself to everything I described above…I completely understand why you did. Black Friday sales and promotions are often lifesavers for parents who want to get their child that one special gift they really want. Doesn’t matter if it’s expensive or inexpensive either. If that’s your best chance to get that special item or items for your child, my hat’s off to you for braving the madness. You’re a better person than me, because…

…I must confess that after putting the kids to bed at my parents’ house last night, I set out toward the golden glow of Toys ‘R Us in hopes of picking up a certain item for the boys that had caught my eye while browsing the ads that morning. Needless to say it was beyond packed when I got there. The line wrapped around the front of the building, down the side of it, and all the way around the back of it.

Umm, so I never got out of the car and was back home to share the story with my folks by the time the store was supposed to open. I love my children. I’d like the record to show that I gave it a shot. It’s going to have to be something else for them from me this year though – somehow that will have to be ok.

So, I hope you all found what you were looking for today…and furthermore I hope you all find peace and happiness this holiday season. As for me, there’s always Cyber Monday 🙂

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