Black Friday Avoidance

I love a bargain as much as the next gal (and perhaps even more so), but I’ve never, ever lined up at 5 am outside of Wal-Mart, Sears, Circuit City, or any other store on the day after Thanksgiving to take advantage of a sale. Even if I had been buying this year, I would not have dragged my turkey-dressing-cranberry sauce-stuffed self to any mall to fight the crowds. Will someone please explain to me what is so fun about circling a crowded parking lot for 2 hours in order to stand elbow to elbow with strangers–all for just 20%-50% off? And if you do enjoy this consumer ritual, do you actually buy stuff you need or do you just get caught up in the frenzy and purchase everything within arms reach?

Dating back at least five years, Adbusters has advertised Buy Nothing Day (the day after Thanksgiving) and encouraged people NOT to shop on that day. They also now encourage a Buy Nothing Christmas, urging people to get creative, make their gifts, and get rid of the stress and debt associated with holiday shopping. I think the idea of purchasing NOTHING for Christmas is still a bit hardcore for mainstream Americans. Even this consumer-free mom is itching for Santa to visit the kids. But it does seem that a little momentum is gathering–I’m finding more and more web sites offering tips and ideas for laying off gifts, slowing down the pace, and enjoying a simpler holiday season.

As for me, I elected to spend Black Friday 2006 taking a nice, long walk with my sister-in-law, Nunally, who was visiting from Charleston, stuffing myself with a third helping of Turkey Sausage Gumbo, and then embarrassing myself on the ice skating rink with my daughter this afternoon.

Total time spent enjoying family today=12 hours (excluding the 20 minutes spent wrestling with tantrum throwing 2 year old)
Total $$ output=$17 at the ice rink
Total time spent with annoying strangers stalking me in the parking lot or elbowing me in line=0
Number of shopping days left til Christmas=31!

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