Day 328 Black Friday

Written by:- Cindy Bogard

If you’re in a big hurry, just read this: 

Resist!


If you’re not in such a hurry, feel free to read on.

In the United States, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, which is on Thursday this week. Sadly, the website Answers.com defines Black Friday as “an unofficial American holiday”. Sad, not because the rest of you are missing out; sad because a day of shopping insanity has somehow become “an unofficial American holiday”.

So what is Black Friday? As I said, it’s the day after Thanksgiving and the official start to what’s called the holiday shopping season. (Spring, Summer, Fall, Holiday Shopping, Winter?) It’s called black because of traditional accounting notations: While debt is noted in red, profit is noted in black. Some businesses run “in the red” all year and don’t go “into the black” until the shopping mayhem begins the day after Thanksgiving.

Black Friday is a day of amazing sales and deep discounts. Some stores open as early as 4:00 am, with people staying up all night in the parking lot so they can be the first in the door, as the very best sales (aptly named “doorbusters”) are only available in limited quantities. In 2008, a worker at Wal-Mart was trampled to death in the frenzied crush of Black Friday.

Recently, a friend forwarded to me a website devoted to Black Friday (www.Black-Friday.net). They’re posting the circulars (advertisements) in advance on their site and boast over 100,000 fans on Facebook. They report that Kmart’s Black Friday circular is 44 pages and that  “We can’t stress enough how much we love this ad (Wal-Mart). There are tons of excellent deals and we think you will be very happy with it.”

Oh my. What’s a decluttering gal to think?

Resist!

If you really feel that you need or want a 47″ flat screen TV or a new laptop, don’t let a sale ad make the decision for you. Research your purchase. Think through your decision making. Don’t buy in haste. The same rules apply to shopping on Black Friday as to every other day. If you see what you want at an excellent price, and you can tolerate the bedlam (which I can’t), then fill up your thermos with coffee, stand in line all night long, and get your doorbuster deal, but don’t buy out the place just because there are sale ads plastered on every item in the store. Remember, the stores are desperate for you to buy; that doesn’t mean you need to be desperate to purchase.

Happy Thanksgiving

to all our American readers

May your Friday not be Black

Item 328 o9f 365 less things

A sentimental item for sure. An old cap from my husbands years in Malaysia. I have heard all the old stories so many times I am almost convinced I lived there too because they are so familiar.

Old cap

5 Things I am grateful for today

  1. My hay fever seems to be going away at last.
  2. Puzzles – they kept both Liam and I amused over the last month.
  3. Watching a movie together – These nothing like a little family time.
  4. Cindy agreeing to take on a weekly post spot. – Her post will appear on Wednesday in Australia which is Tuesdays in the US and somewhere in between for everyone else. Thanks Cindy!
  5. Laughter – It is so much fun sharing the stories with Liam about the antics he got up to in the hospital. Like when he tried to order a cheese pizza from the florist kiosk.

Continue reading with these posts:

  • From the Archives ~ Day 328 Black Friday Written by:- Cindy Bogard If you're in a big hurry, just read this:  Resist! If you're not in such a hurry, feel free to read on. In the United States, Black Friday is the day […]
  • Happy Thanksgiving & Black Friday Advice Colleen and Cindy wish all our American readers and the good folk of Leiden (Netherlands) a very happy Thanksgiving May you eat all you want and not gain an ounce. Now that would be […]
  • Day 135 Resistance is NOT futile against retail assault One of the most important lessons I have learned since taking on this challenge of 365 less things is that resisting the temptation from retail assault is not a futile exercise, it can be […]

Comments

  1. Such wise words, Cindy. Thanks so much for addressing the feeding-frenzy that is Black Friday. I can’t think of a worse way to spend the day after a lovely, relaxing Thanksgiving Day. For me it represents the worst of American consumerism. Friday is the perfect day to bundle up and enjoy a long walk, a log in the fireplace, a good book, anything but shopping! Have a great holiday 🙂

  2. Thanks Eve. Stores like the Gap open on Thursday for a day of Thanksgiving shopping seems wrong to me, too. The only store I think should be open on Thanksgiving is the grocery and even then, I’m not so sure.

  3. Thanks Cindy & Colleen. Black Friday is such a horror. I stay as far away from stores as I can get. I can’t think of anything I need so bad that I would get out in that mess. It’s materialism at it’s worst. I think it stinks that anything is open on Thanksgiving Day. To me there is no reason you can’t get what you need before that day. I feel very sorry for anyone who has to work that day because of someones need to shop. It’s bad enough that hospitals, police and fire departments have to work. At least there is a good reason for that.

    • It’s really awful, isn’t it? One website I looked at said that Black Friday had been around for years, but I don’t remember it until perhaps the last decade, do you?

  4. Many stores are starting to open late Thanksgiving evening and even during the day. I hate that. The employees should get to enjoy the time with their families. too. You won’t find me shopping anywhere on Black Friday. Yuck!

    • Hi Erin,
      thanks for joining in the conversation and welcome to 365lessthings.
      Good for you! Stay home with you family and keep away from the stores on Thanksgiving, I like that!

  5. I’ll be visiting family and friends this year and we don’t plan to step outside on Black Friday unless there is some kind of emergency! That is the one day of the year, and the day right after Christmas, that I plan to stay home no matter what. It’s just unbelievable to me that the stores open in the wee hours of the morning and people actually show up!

    • Hi Betty Jo,
      the day after Christmas (Boxing Day) is a public holiday here in Australia and most stores don’t open but that is slowing changing, sadly.

  6. I thought I wiould be preaching to the choir with this post, but after my friend send a link to the Black Friday website, I knew I would be remiss to not write something about the Biggest Recluttering Day of the Year.

  7. Dear Cindy, it’s great news that you will be posting regularly – I really enjoy your viewpoint. I must say I follow a few US blogs and the “holiday season” which seems to start at Halloween and just accelerate from there must put terrible pressure on family budgets, time and decorating skills. Of course our retailers here in Australia would love us to follow suit but not one Christmas decoration will go up in this house until the second Sunday of Advent (December 5) and especially not the real tree which I plan on leaving another week (they develop a rather peculiar smell in Australia if they are kept too long over the hot summer, even if you stick bleach in the water to kill the mosquitoes that try to breed there). As for my money, it’s staying in my pocket until at least then too – I will NOT reward these crazy shops and their fake Christmas frenzy!

    • You are right, Calico Ginger. The big store Costco had Christmas things out before Halloween, and I was hearing Christmas music just the other day. The rule used to be that Christmas promotions didn’t start until after Thanksgiving. Where I live, it’s still very warm in October. It’s disconcerting to be wearing shorts, shopping for Halloween candy, and dodging Christmas displays.

    • Gosh, and I forgot the most important thing: Thanks for the big compliment. I love my little job at 365lessthings.

  8. “Biggest recluttering day of the year.” Great line, great post, thoughts after my own heart 🙂

    • Thanks Meg. No matter what the holiday, Americans never miss the chance to connect it to shopping. Veterans Day = new lounge chair. Memorial Day = power tools and some new linens. It makes me crazy that virtually no holiday is untouched by Deep Discounts! Three Days Only!

  9. We don’t have Thanksgiving over here in the UK but the frenzy that is the after Christmas sales probably compares. Luckily I hate crowds so rarely go near the shops in the holidays!!

    I also agree with calico ginger that Christmas starts far too early. I like to put my tree up 1 week before Christmas (hopefully having finished work by then).

  10. Adbusters sponsors Buy Nothing Day (http://www.adbusters.org/campaigns/bnd), which is November 26 in the US and November 27 internationally. I plan to celebrate both days by, well, buying nothing (and sleeping late). I may take a load of stuff to the charity shop, too.

  11. Black Friday sounds like Australia’s Boxing Day (at least in Melbourne, I’m guess you live somewhere up north Colleen). I stopped going to the Boxing Day sales a while back now, because they are just too busy and the things you want are never on sale. The shops just bring in a whole bunch of rubbish they couldn’t sell all year, but the good stuff they keep at full price.

  12. I’ll admit that I have participated in Black Friday in prior years and it drove my husband nuts because he prefers the ‘Buy Nothing Day’ mentality. This year I am torn…I want to continue decluttering (not recluttering) and I have plans to spend the day baking for a cookie exchange I am attending the next week but when my daughter needs jeans and the store I buy them at has the whole store at 50% off what’s a girl to do???

    • Hi Rachel,
      two things…
      1.) Is the 50% off worth the hassle?
      2.) Can you slip out to that one store easily get only what you went for and come home?

      If the answer to 1. is no stay home. If it is yes consider the second question wisely because if 50% of a pair of jeans is going to cost you $100 worth of other unnecessary shopping then it wasn’t a good deal. If you can execute number 2. carrying out only your mission and returning home having saved $40 or so then it was probably a wise move. Consider the shopping mayhem, parking difficulties and traffic conditions before you make your final decision though as a fender bender is going to make $40 look like chicken feed.

      • Shot, I was going to reply to this but Colleen beat me to it, with exactly the same advise I was going to give. (Actually, I think her advise is a bit better than what I was going to give.) Does this favorite store have on-line shopping? That might help you to buy just what you need and nothing more without the headache of shopping with 10,000 of your newest closest friends.

  13. Isabella, I just checked out Boxing Day on Wikipedia. It sounds exactly like Black Friday. This seems especially unfortunate to me, since the tradition of boxing day was when the well-to-do made up boxes of food and necessities to give their their servants or to the needy. Now it’s a day of buying (presumably) for oneself.

    • I’ve always wondered why its called boxing day. What a shame the tradition of helping others on boxing day has been lost, there’s no other day set aside for helping others during the year.

      • Hi Isabella,
        I would like to think that helping others has now become an everyday thing and that it is happening constantly throughout the world. I think there are that many days set aside for that many things these days that they have mostly been lost in obscurity.

      • Boxing Day (at least in England where we used to live) dates back ages. Back then, the churches kept wooden boxes outside for the townsfolk to drop in coins when the church wasn’t “in service”. The day after Christmas, the religious folk (priests, etc.) would either 1. Go around throughout the village collecting donations for the poor (given that they got goodies the day before, they might be willing to part with any extra) or 2. Leave a box outside the church for such donations. I’ve heard both, but either way, the premise was to help the needy (or more needy) after a day when gifts were exchanged…a spread the wealth. 🙂

  14. Fortunately, Black Friday is not too much of a temptation for me. 1) It is typically the day of my niece’s birthday party and 2) I have most of my Christmas presents bought by now. Ever since a person was killed in a stampede at a Walmart (?), I really do not want to be a part of the shopping crowd on this particular day.

    I am usually quite disciplined about not buying unnecessary items during the year, but at Christmas, because I am in the stores, it seems like my usual discipline is relaxed and I also end up with stuff for myself. My biggest temptation is books (also my favorite gift to give), but whenever I hear about something I want, I try to hop on my library website and request it, and I enjoy getting the emails a day or so or maybe even weeks later to pick them up. For gift shopping, I usually have very specific items in mind when I do shop for others (and most often a coupon in hand as well), so that helps me get in and out of the stores without a lot of extra browsing, and therefore temptation. My favorite bookstore sends 40% off coupons occasionally, so I have learned to think far ahead to what I might give certain persons and am ready to use it when it arrives via email. (And I got a 50% off yesterday–never happened before–and I bought my dad’s birthday present for January.)

    • Good job Wendy. I love a good coupon too. Recently, I wanted to purchase something and had a Bed Bath & Beyond 20% off coupon; however, I had heard that the item I wanted to purchase was cheaper at Kohl’s, a store I’d never been to. Turns out the item was the same price. I went up to the counter with the thing and my BB&B coupon. In my nicest voice I explained why I was there (thought it would be cheaper) and said that I would be leaving the item there on the counter or they could honor my BB&B coupon, and I would buy it from them. Worked like a charm, and they gave my coupon back. I rarely go to BB&B, but their coupons never expire, despite what it say on the coupon. I just put it back in my coupon holder and left a happy gal. You can read more about my coupon organizing system here: http://www.365lessthings.com/?p=513

  15. i try to reduce my clutter, and i’m sorry but a lot of you need to get off your high decluttering, minimalist horse. to each, his own, right? if you are soooo disgusted by the holiday shopping season, then don’t participate. it’s that simple.

    • Hi Albert,
      reducing clutter isn’t possible if one keeps replacing it and resisting the retail temptations is crucial to this. I remember you wrote once about how hard it is living in a large household and trying to declutter and that must be a difficult thing but resisting temptation is even harder. In the past I have decluttered my home to one extent of another but it wasn’t until I started taking notice of minimalist web sites that I finally learned the lessons I needed to in order to resist recluttering. I wish you luck and wisdom in your attempts to declutter and hope it goes well for you but remember a bargain isn’t a bargain if you don’t really need it anyway.

  16. Our local paper (population around 80,000) has really played up Black Friday. They showed one man who was first in line at Best Buy (electronics/appliances store). The manager of Best Buy came out and asked him what he was wanting to buy. His REPLY was he didn’t know, he just wanted to be FIRST IN LINE. That was his goal–he had done the line thing for 3 years and this year he was FIRST. I think this is beyond consumerism. He had spent several cold nights camped out to buy he didn’t know what. If it weren’t so sad. it would be kind of funny.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Day 328 Black Friday – “May you Friday not be black” The lost art of gratitude: thoughts on Thanksgiving – “ Hours lost in the mall. Commercialism gone rampant, this constant pressure to buy, buy, buy in the ’spirit of the holidays. It’s not pretty. It’s not joyful. […]“ […]