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Black Friday: yes or no no no?

We’re getting closer to the actual official start of the holiday season (which to me, as I’ve mentioned, means when Santa’s sleigh appears at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade).  :)

And with it comes something that shoppers, storekeepers, and bargain hunters all over have either been eagerly anticipating or dreading with terror: Black Friday. (Dun dun dun!)

Why I avoid Black Friday like the Black Plague

Now, I am a frugal person. I watch our budget carefully, I try to save whenever I can, and I (like anyone) love a good bargain. But you will not find me anywhere near a Black Friday sale, and here is why:

  • I hate crowds.
  • I hate lines.
  • I hate getting up early.
  • I hate mean, angry people.
  • I hate how materialistic Christmas is, and this just reminds me of that.

The Hubby and I did Black Friday once, a couple of years ago, just to see what we were missing out on. There’s one department store in our neighborhood that had a few advertised sales we were interested in, plus a really good percent-off coupon, so we thought we’d give it a shot.

Oh, how silly we were…

Our Black Friday “horror story”

We went at a decent (by my standards) hour, which of course meant that everything we wanted from the ad was long gone. But we still had the coupon, so we figured we’d take advantage of doubling it with some of the great sales they had on other items. I got a super-cute winter hat, and The Hubby got some shirts. That took us about an hour of jostling past women trying on shoes in the middle of aisles and angry moms snapping at their shrieking (and clearly exhausted) toddlers, so we’d had about enough of the bargain hunting. We took our measly deals to cash out…where there was a line that wrapped (I kid you not) twice around the floor of the little department store before reaching the registers. I sent The Hubby up to the second floor of the store to check out that line, but it wasn’t any better.

There were still several hours left before our “early bird” coupon expired, but we honestly wondered if we’d make it to the head of the line in time.

To our credit (or more likely stupidity), we were both so frustrated at that point that we were determined to get our bargains. So what if we waited an hour and a half for a hat and some shirts? We were going to get them for mere cents…and we were not going to have gone through all this for nothing, darn it!

Long story short, we got to the registers after losing several years of our lives (and trying really, really hard not to punch the lady behind us in line who talked angrily with someone on her cell phone THE ENTIRE TIME). And we learned that the coupon (in very fine print, on the bottom of the back of the coupon) was not good on sale items.

Arggh!

So we got a hat and some shirts for slightly less than we’d normally pay for them.

Never again. I know it was hardly as harrowing as being trampled by a mob or fighting a desperate mom over the last hot holiday toy on the shelf, but our one Black Friday experience was enough for me to say “Cyber Monday all the way!” for us from this point forward.

What about you?  Will you be joining in the Black Friday madness, or not?  (If yes, why on earth?)  :)

 

~Heart,

Em

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photo credit:  Croixboy

Comments

  1. It is a tradition in my family to go Black Friday shopping. When my brother and I were little, it was all about the special, latest-and-greatest toys. As we’ve gotten older, we don’t go nearly as early in the morning, but we still go. As the stores open earlier and earlier, you end up missing all of the super crazy shoppers if you wait until 9 am or so, but you still get the Early Bird deals. Last year, I got a $50 dress shirt for my now-husband for $17, for example. I figure that I will need to buy Christmas presents anyway, and we have the day off work so might as well go that day!

    The craziest, though, was when I worked seasonal retail and a couple came into our store to start their wedding registry on Black Friday. The store was packed and there they were, ambling along with their scanner guns. We just shook our heads.

    • Em (The Blonde) says:

      I guess if you grew up with it, it doesn’t seem quite so stressful as it did for us just jumping into it for the first time. Registering for your wedding on Black Friday, though? Did they think all their items would be half-price if they scanned them that day? Because that’s the only reason I can think of for doing something like that. :)

      • Black Friday has evolved into a really out-of-control experience in the last few years (the fact that some stores are opening Thursday evening – like 8 pm – this year is insane to me) but like I said, you can miss the rush, but get the good deals, by going later. :-)

        I’m not even sure how much we will shop this Black Friday – I would prefer to have a list of gift ideas going in but I don’t have any ideas yet! That is stressing me out more than the concept of lines/parking/etc. I’m hoping I get inspired at the stores.

        • Em (The Blonde) says:

          Yeah, I am not a fan of the opening on Thanksgiving idea. What about those poor employees? Are you really okay dragging them away from their family celebrations?

          • Summerchild810 says:

            I am one of those employees that has to work Thanksgiving at 7pm till 4am. We are considered the lower middle class who in reality need the special prices because we can’t afford to spend alot, however we can not participate in the deals because they are pretty much gone by the time we get to shop unless you have someone willing to do it for you. I am the oldest in the family so I do all the cooking for Thanksgiving a tradition in our family. So I get up at 6am on Thanksgiving morning start cooking and we eat around 2pm I try to sneak a nap in there if possible and then I go to work that evening and work all night. I am not about to let these retailers mess up my family life so I make it work, but they say it is to offer more times for the customer to shop when they are lying to everyone, it is about the money so they can make an extra million or so. If I didn’t have to work the last place I would be is shopping on those two days because of knowing what it is all about.

          • Em (The Blonde) says:

            Summerchild:

            I feel for you. It’s completely unfair the way those stores treat their employees. It’s obviously all about profit, and personally, even if I did Black Friday shopping, I’d refuse to shop at stores that open on Thanksgiving. It’s so unfair.

  2. I avoid Black Friday/ busy shopping days like the plague. I’m with you on the hating crowds and lines of people, to me it just isn’t worth it!

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