“I asked for riot shields, but they wouldn’t give me one, so it’s not going to be that bad I don’t think.”
— Target employee
I will not go out at the crack of dawn for anything other than a birth, a death or an early flight to a beach. I am up at midnight only once annually if I can help it. That is to see the ball drop and fall asleep within minutes after. I barely enjoy camping in the dead of summer with s’mores to sustain me.
There is no way on Earth you would catch me camped out in front of Best Buy in the chill of winter just to get a really great deal on a TV. Yet, severe common sense aside, I have long been a lover of Black Friday. The planning, the camaraderie, the thrill of the hunt.
Whether I went with Mr. Wonderful or dear friends accompanied me, I couldn’t imagine a holiday season without the beloved Black Friday madness.
Like many Black Friday shoppers I anticipate the annual outing with all the preparation of a hunter going on safari. Armies have invaded enemy beaches with less forethought than it takes to plan an attack on a Walmart electronics department (hint: they’re sneaky and will hide the TV’s by the beans). There is the thrill of making a list and checking price twice.
With coffee and loved ones firmly in hand I have hit the chilly open road in the wee hours of half-past dark to find the best deals on the day after Thanksgiving. I have spent the day standing in line but come home older, wiser, and with enough bargains to make the adventure more than worthwhile.
You can imagine, then, my crushing disappointment when all three of my chosen Black Friday companions left me high and dry on the big day. Mr. Wonderful had to work. Fine. Go support the family! Selfish.
My other Black Friday Best Friend Forever (aka BF BFF) had to work because she’s a nurse and, get this, people still get sick even on Black Friday. Failure to plan people. FAILURE TO PLAN.
My final Black Friday friend sent a text (so modern we are) in the wee hours to say that she was sick and couldn’t go. Color me blue on Black Friday!
Mumbling and grumbling I considered going it alone but I’ve been there, done that, and a celebratory lunch to crow over the $8 you saved on an action figure just isn’t the same all by your lonesome. Not to mention that if you have to visit the restroom you need someone to hold your place in a six-hour checkout line.
So what’s a frugal bent-on-bargains girl to do? Sit. Pouting, I found a spot on the couch because the couch and I, we go way back. I picked up my trusty laptop (which, by the way, has undoubtedly led to my recent weight gain since now I don’t even have to WALK UPSTAIRS to sit down and be on the computer all day — win!)
I opened my browser and what to my wondering eyes does appear but Black Friday deals and they are all right here! (Free shipping too!) Thus, rather than braving the crowds I curled up warm and cozy and shopped away.
The Internet allowed me to compare prices in an instant and hit “order” in a flash. There were no lines for my restroom and the pie was free. Thus, I saved not only time and trouble, but by staying home I avoided the $20 lunch and $5 coffees necessary to make the long lines bearable.
Without impulse buys at checkout — “Gum and light bulbs? Why sure!” — I made a list, checked it twice, and stuck to it far better than I do when in an actual store.
Finally … I love reviews! Online products almost always have a space where people just like you and I — only possibly better typists — can and do share their impressions of the item. I have saved easily $100 this season simply by reading what others think and realizing that I really didn’t want or need the thing I was so sure I couldn’t live without at all.
Granted, I’m not immune to chatting people up in store aisles to find out what they think of a product, but I’m unlikely to find 900 reviewers willing to share their experience hanging around the end-cap of Target.
I’m not saying I will never brave the cold and crowds of Black Friday again. I will say that I have added a new refrain to one tried-and true-Christmas tale. ‘Twas Black Friday morning and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for my (computer) mouse.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt prefers window shopping with local merchants. She welcomes comments c/o LifeOutLoud@comcast.net; P.O. Box 38, Salem, Ohio 44460; or visit her online for photos, ramblings, and more at www://KymberlyFosterSeabolt.com.)