Those who know me may think me a hypocrite when they see my name at the bottom of this post. I’ll admit, my heart still does a little “pitter-patter” every time I see the words “Black Friday” online or in ads. In the past years I’ve been a big Black Friday shopper. Getting up at 2 am or just skipping bed all together to stay up after Thanksgiving dinner and hit the stores in the cold. I chalked it up to tradition. I went with my teenage nieces and my sisters. It was fun to join in the holiday shopping frenzy together each year. High on sugar from Thanksgiving pies, we’d line up for the first shot at “discounted” items for Christmas.
The thing is, I was spending money I didn’t really have on things I didn’t really need and my loved ones didn’t really want. This year I’ve had a change of heart. We are doing a really low-key, low-cost Christmas this year, so I have no need for a huge shopping spree. We just don’t need the STUFF. We are blessed with all the necessities of life and to be honest, we just don’t have the space. I seem to get my kids new toys, they leave them everywhere, I continually ask them to clean it up. Most of the toys I buy them break anyway. It just seems to be this vicious cycle of excess and waste. I want to put an end to it this year!
My friend Shanti from Life Made Full doing something wonderful with her family. They are giving away half of their Christmas money to those in need. Her family so inspired me that I talked to my kids about doing the same thing and they surprised me by being so excited to help those in need. While talking to my children about this, we talked about children without families and my 5 year old boy said, “Mommy, we should take all the kids that don’t have families and they can be a part of our family.” Sniff, sniff, tear. They touched my heart with their generosity and I was so proud of them.
Anyway, back to Black Friday!
Here are Four Reasons NOT to Shop on Black Friday:
1. Black Friday Label: Black Friday is less of a day now and more of a label. Remember when I said my heart does a little “pitter-patter” when I hear those words? That’s because it’s now a “label” I’m excited about. Did that image above catch your eye? Sale? My heart also does this when I hear the words “Apple” or “Mac,” but that’s for another post! Black Friday used to mean the beginning of holiday sales, but that is no longer true. Have you seen those Christmas decorations up at Target in October? If you go to the Big Box Stores’ websites right now you can see their Black Friday Ads. Target and Amazon deals have already begun several days before Thanksgiving. It’s more like “Black November” now. So why wait until the night of Thanksgiving to go shopping?
2. You are Being Tricked: Retailers offer “limited quantities” of amazing deals called “door-busters” like Target’s $100 gift card if you buy an iPad Air. But these stores’ quantities of special offers are extremely limited. They are designed to get you into the stores, hoping that you’ll get caught up in the excitement of impulse buying. And guess what…it works! Retailers will also inflate the “list” price, or original price, of products to make them look like they originally cost much more than they actually do to make you think you’re saving a lot more, when in actuality your savings are 10% vs. 50%. You’ve probably heard the phrase “you get what you pay for” and this couldn’t be more true for Black Friday. Often times retailers discount the lower quality off-brand items rather than their more reliable, established brands. Case in point, I bought a TV on Black Friday a few years ago and it died one year later. No warranty, no returns. So, while I saved $500 on a TV, we then had to buy a new TV one year later. So were we really saving money?
3. Holidays are for Family: Thanksgiving and Black Friday are some of the few days my husband has off of work. I don’t want to spend that precious time shopping in the cold. I want to spend it with family. I don’t think when I’m 85 years old, thinking back over my memories of holidays while my children were young that I will remember all the fun I had buying things I didn’t really need. And I don’t think I will have those things when I’m 85, but I will (hopefully) have my memories.
4. Help Those in Need: Do we really NEED all this stuff? I want my kids to have a good Christmas, but maybe “good Christmas” doesn’t equal “lots of presents.” Maybe it means spending quality time together, making memories, sharing in our love of each other and humanity, celebrating in our own religious way. You know what our kids WILL remember? That family in need they anonymously left presents for, the homeless people they donated food to, the senior citizens they sang to, the people they helped, the lives they touched and turn their lives were touched. Amongst all the tinsel, empty boxes, wrapping paper and abundance of STUFF, that feeling of giving and service is what they will remember most.
Do you shop on Black Friday? How do you feel about it? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment here or on our Facebook page.