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Black Friday sets a terrible example for kids

Of all the people who might punch you in the face for a Monster High doll or a $6 Crock-Pot, I won’t be one of them.

Ah, Black Friday. The day when everyone can breathe a collective sigh of relief that all the fall holidays and family togetherness are finally, blessedly over so they can get down to the important business of wrestling an octogenarian in a motorized scooter for a deeply discounted stand mixer.

Christmas is indeed in the air.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I will say that on one occasion, I actually participated in this madness. I was in college, with a new baby, and in need of a new computer to write papers and look at hilarious cat pictures on. Any other day of the year, a computer was out of reach, so I donned my gloves and coat and stood in line outside of a Circuit City (OMG!) to get an extremely cheap eMachine (OMG! OMG!).

It was in those early-morning hours when they finally opened the doors and I watched a man vault over a parked car and a line of hedges, Hunger Games style, only to be clotheslined by a pregnant woman, that I swore I would never, ever be a part of it again. They were out of computers by the time I got into the store.

There is nothing that could make it worth it to me again.

No flat-screen TV, no reduced-price Monster High doll, no limited-quantity smartphone — nothing — will ever tempt me to come face to face with the worst aspects of humanity again. I want to believe that people are generally good at their core, and nothing crushes that belief more completely than watching a soccer mom and a finance douche wrestle each other for a George Foreman grill.

It would be really easy for me to pretend I am above materialism and therefore better than everyone. I’m not. I like having nice things. I especially like having cheap nice things. Most of the fun I get from Christmas is spending way too much money on my friends and family, because even better than getting nice things is hovering over someone’s shoulder while they unwrap the gift you picked and breathing “well?” into their face. Stuff is great. Stuff is awesome.

With that said, the nightmare of Black Friday is divorced entirely in my mind from the concept of “stuff.” You can get “stuff” anytime — I don’t want my kid to think it’s OK to bounce early from Thanksgiving dinner with people you may get to see only one time a year to stake a claim on some crap that will be marked down by March anyway.

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