If you’re out Christmas shopping today, you won’t see me — or my wife, for that matter.
Like thousands of other people nationwide, we’ve decided to boycott shopping on what has become known as Black Friday.
Actually, we’ve been staying away from the day-after-Thanksgiving shopping scene for years. It started out as a simple desire to avoid the crowds and craziness associated with what is traditionally the largest retail shopping day of the year.
But this year, we’ve taken more of a philosophical stand on the issue.
A few weeks ago, a movement was started on Facebook urging people to pledge to not shop on Thanksgiving. The push was in response to the announcement by several retail chains that they would be open Thanksgiving Day for shoppers wanting to get an early jump on Christmas shopping.
It was just one more example of the shopping rush encroaching on our traditional American holiday. My wife and I agree it’s unnecessary — not to mention an imposition on employees of the stores taking part.
Of course, our presence is unlikely to be missed, and our mini-boycott won’t change any of the stores’ shopping hours — but as they say, it’s the principle that’s important.
I know I’m probably dating myself here, but when I was growing up in the ’60s, everything was closed on Thanksgiving — department stores, grocery stores and restaurants. About the only places doing business were gas stations and a few convenience stores.
Back then, of course, Black Friday wasn’t the big deal it is today. In fact, it wasn’t even called Black Friday. Retailers just advertised their “Day After Thanksgiving Sales.”
And believe it or not, back then the stores actually opened at their regular times.
But now, Black Friday has become an overhyped dawn-to-dusk, mind-numbing whirlwind of one-day-only sales, discounts and special offers — all aimed at bargain-hunting Christmas shoppers.
Hey, I’m all for getting a good deal on a gift. I love a bargain as much as the next person. But I’m not about to pry myself out of a warm bed in the middle of the night and stand in line with 200 shivering shoppers — all in the hopes of getting a flat-screen TV for half price.
And of course, stores only have a limited number of sale items available, so the odds are a lot of folks are going home empty-handed.
I’ve seen the TV reports of people getting trampled when the doors open to a store offering a terrific Black Friday bargain.
I’ve also seen the oh-so-common interviews with those bleary-eyed moms, three or four whining kids in tow, who have been up since 3 a.m. and are still at it 12 hours later. But hey, they’ve almost finished their Christmas shopping in one day and saved $200, they say.
How nice for them.
For some people, ferreting out the best Black Friday deals is a game; for others, it’s a quest. They truly enjoy the big crowds and mayhem that go with the intense shopping experience.
That’s not the case for me and my wife. For us, the words “intense” and “shopping” just don’t go together. There’s enough hustle and bustle at Christmas as it is, without adding extra anxiety to the mix. We’d rather wait a few days and pay a bit more for our gifts, if it means keeping a little more of our sanity.
So, if you’re looking for us this weekend, you may catch us grabbing a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant. You may even see us in the aisles of a local bookstore.
But don’t expect to find us at any of the area big-box stores, department stores or the mall. I’m sure they’ve all got great sales going on, but no thanks.
We’ll start our shopping next week.