Black Friday Is Really Not My Thing
I know that's sort of surprising, given that I love a good bargain. But much as I love bargains, I don't love crowds and limited quantities (ohhh, do I hate limited quantities!).
One year I decided I'd try Black Friday, so I set my alarm for some ungodly hour, left my cozy bed, drove to an electronics store, and stared in horror at the long line of people extending from the doorway. I immediately decided that my chances of scoring the limited-quantity front-page ad specials were slim to none, so I turned my car around and drove straight back home.
Just the thought of the chaos that would ensue as soon as the doors opened was enough to send me packing.
Chaos aside, I don't often find that Black Friday offers a lot in the way of exceptional savings that work for my gift list. Most of the children's items that are deeply discounted are for motorized or fad toys that I wouldn't buy for my kids anyways. And except for the front page bargains, most of the prices I see just aren't that amazing.
Of course, that's the way the marketers design their sales. They offer ridiculously low prices on a select items (which are almost always limited in quantity) so that you'll come and buy all the other not-so-discounted merchandise.
If Black Friday sales were the only way to get Christmas gift bargains, maybe I'd haul myself out to the stores. But that's simply not the case! I manage to do my bargain Christmas shopping in a quieter, more peaceful way. I shop at thrift stores throughout the year, keep an eye on clearance racks, order gifts online, and I also make a number of Christmas gifts myself.
So, on Black Friday, you won't find me out at the mall at 0-dark-thirty, waiting in chilly lines that wrap around the stores. No, my hasn't-gone-over-my-Christmas-budget self is happily in my warm and cozy house with my family, decking the halls of our house as Christmas music fills the air.
Kristen writes about practical frugality at The Frugal Girl. She's in love with God, her family, her Kitchen-Aid mixer, her camera, and her piano, though not necessarily in that order.
I Am a Black Friday Shopper
To say that I celebrate Thanksgiving is but a part of the truth. Thanksgiving is like Christmas Eve, the moment of great anticipation before you rip into presents the next morning. To the real bargain shopper, it is pay dirt. The BB gun is to Ralphie in The Christmas Story as Black Friday is to pure frugalistas. Everyone else out there on Black Friday is just wearing a pink bunny suit.
Many comment that Black Friday is not worth the $20 of savings. If I only saved $20, I would consider it a great failure. 2002 was my best Black Friday year so far. I became a legend, somewhat in my own mind, when I came home with three shirts, one sweater, and one baby dress for only 15 cents. I saved the receipt in my wallet for weeks, showing everyone that would take a glance, recounting the story numerous times to everyone.
There are rules to Black Friday. First is to know your route and what you're looking for. Lists are made of deals at each store and the time the store opens. If you're standing in line outside a store, befriend the person next to you and hold their place in line if they need to run to their car. However, if you are in line to pay in the store, no one will hold your place. If fact, they will call everyone they know on their phone and invite them personally to come take your place in line.
Bedhead mixed with leftover mascara is the official Black Friday uniform. You can always tell impostors just by looking at their shoes first and their makeup (that is, the abundance thereof) next. On Black Friday, makeup and matching clothes are for sissies.
In the end, Black Friday is about just wanting to spend time with a community of like-minded believers while saving your credit card from certain death. It’s a win-win situation for all, especially your inner thrill-seeking frugalista.
Bobbie Byrd, aka Blessed Salt, is a saved by grace, yet graceless, wife, mom, and crafter who lives in Houston with her 3 girls and hunky husband. She blogs at Clumsy Crafter.
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