Black Friday Or Bust

todayIt’s that time again.

Almost as obnoxious as the primaries, but on a yearly cycle, the biggest shopping day/weekend is only a few days away. I dread it. Yet I can’t wait for it.

I am a late bloomer when it comes to Black Friday. All my life stores were closed on Thanksgiving, and the most important thing of the weekend was what you were going to wear on that day and if there would be enough stuffing for everyone.

Nowdays we are shopping weeks before we even catch sight of a turkey. The whiff of money outblasts any scent of turkey or baked bread.  I’ve seen a dozen ads now for Black Friday on the Monday Before, Pre-Black, Pre-Cyber Post-Black, and so on. Even my own employer is trying their hand at it.

Too much chaos and madness made me stay home all these years. Scenes of people punching each other out on the sales floor for a Cabbage Patch doll or stepping over someone who was unfortunate enough to lose their footing is NOT how I wanted to spend my vacation day. Lines wrapped around buildings and down parking lot aisles and once inside did a double wrap around the store.

Nuts. They were all nuts.

Then one Thanksgiving all the cousins and grandparents and kids pulled out the sale papers after dinner and I took a peek. Oh! I love that movie! How much? $1.99? No! And my mixer — it does make a weird noise every time I use it. What? Here’s one for $7.99? No! Temptation took hold. Suddenly I found myself wanting all sorts of things. Things I needed, things I didn’t need. Things I thought about but not really but there it was more than half price!

Needless to say, the madness couldn’t match my pocketbook, so I wound up putting back half of my cart. Good thing. My drawers had more than enough fuzzy pajama sets and socks and my cabinets didn’t need anymore glasses or blenders or industrial gloves.

I’ve learned a lot since those first couple of shopping considerations. I’ve got friends who won’t come within 30 miles of a shopping center or store that day. I know others who get up at 4 a.m. so they can hit the place when the doors open at 5.  I know people who hate the crowds and some who just laugh at them.

Whichever category you fall into, know that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are gimmicks to get your money. All the hype makes you believe you need whatever they’re selling — especially with such big discounts. Stores place the most innocuous things along the aisles, hoping you’ll toss a few into your shopping cart as you move along. Ten innocuous things later — surprise at the checkout. You get my drift.

So my advice for this upcoming fiasco is simple. If you go shopping, have fun with it. Take your time. You don’t need to be anywhere at the crack of dawn.  If you’ve been waiting to purchase something big, and you’re in a financial position to do so, go and buy it. Just that one thing. Don’t be tempted by the fantastic deals sitting right next to it.

If you go shopping with no particular deal in mind, limit your impulse budget. Take a second and decide exactly where you will put this new treasure. If you don’t have room don’t buy it. Take a list. If you’re Christmas shopping, stick to the list. Don’t let the buy of the hour distract you.

And if you’d rather stay home, by all means do it. That way you can hit that pumpkin pie you “forgot” to bring out for desert the night before.

Besides — you didn’t need those polka dot jammies anyway.