My husband and I were talking about this yesterday. When we were young, the day after Thanksgiving was “the busiest shopping day of the year”. The newspaper, television news, and other publications would call it that. I don’t ever recall hearing the term “Black Friday”. About ten years ago, I began hearing people call it that, but it wasn’t a term in the mainstream. Stores still had “After Thanksgiving” sales. People still enjoyed their turkey on Thanksgiving Day and headed out to the malls after enjoying breakfast and sleeping in on Friday. Well, those days are over.
Yesterday, my newspaper weighed twice as much as it has all year. I had to dig and dig through all the sale ads to find a section that actually had news in it. Today when I logged onto Facebook, I read status after status of people who left their homes last night after doing dishes to hit sales at 9 PM; others who headed out at midnight, and more who left their cozy beds at 4 AM to head out to buy, buy, buy.
What has happened to us? How much “stuff” do we need so desperately that we are depriving ourselves of family time, sleep, and enjoying life? I don’t know about anybody else, but standing in line for 45 minutes to save $20 – $30 on a Nerf toy, Wii game, and EZ bake oven, just doesn’t seem like a way I want to spend my long weekend. Now don’t get me wrong, I know the economy is in a slump and people do need to watch their wallets. But from my observations, people at the holidays seem to forget their budgets (if they even had them), which frankly, is probably the whole reason stores have these sales now.
At the risk of sounding like Charlie Brown, Christmas and Hanukkah have gone too commercial. (I’m allowed to say both because my mother is Catholic and my father is Jewish; I’ve celebrated both.) Stores are putting out Christmas displays in October. People have their lights up before Thanksgiving. Newspapers are 10 pounds because they’re filled with store ads. Television ads are showing people shopping and shopping (and these ads start before Thanksgiving, too!) The subliminal message……..SPEND! SPEND! SPEND! BUY! BUY! BUY! THINGS AND MATERIAL POSSESSIONS ARE WHAT THE HOLIDAYS ARE ALL ABOUT! It’s such a sad, sad comment on our society.
In a world where morals and faith have already fallen to the bottom of so many people’s priority list (or off that list altogether), do we really need a 48 hour period confirming that the only way to show people you love them at the holidays is to stand in line for an hour and buy them as many presents as your cart can hold? (Forget about what you can afford – that’s what credit cards are for!!!!)
**On a side note — while writing this blog, my mother just called me. She was attempting to buy a toy for my son from ToysRUs.com this morning, and it is out of stock. To help her out, I tried logging on to Walmart.om and I cannot even get on their site! So now, not only must you stand in line at stores, you can’t even get on the stores websites. I am sick to my stomach.**
Anyway, my plan for Black Friday is as follows: straighten up my house, maybe go out to lunch with my husband and kids (I’m dying for peppermint-chocolate chip shake from Chick-Fil-A!), possibly go to ONE store in the mall for a few small items for co-workers, do a little shopping at Barnes & Noble (not necessarily a Black Friday hot spot), and spend the rest of the day with my family. Call me crazy, but I have a Christmas budget, and skipping the Black Friday sales isn’t going to make one bit of difference to my list.