The Case FOR Black Friday

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It started innocently a few Thanksgivings ago. Trapped on my mother’s couch by a sleeping baby and a full tummy, I was looking for something to do while my extended family bonded.

Some yelled at the football game on TV, some dozed off as they digested another successful turkey dinner—and I picked up the newspaper.  Similar to the turkey we had just consumed, it was stuffed.  A good pound of fliers spilled into my lap.

Oh yes, the problem with consumerism and its subsequent implications for societal and individual sin and the black marks it’s all leaving on my soul crossed my mind. But after I looked past the pages and pages of toys my kids would destroy in one evening, I saw it: the electronics section!

Spending the holiday in my small hometown, there was only one box store Black Friday option for me. And, lo and behold, I was holding their electronics flier. There they were, laptop computers and GPS systems, two items at the very top of not only our Christmas list, but our needs list.

And so I tucked my babes into bed Thanksgiving night and headed out to the big box store at midnight. Thankfully, the store was open 24 hours a day, a perk when waiting in line at midnight on a cold November night in Wisconsin.

Each section of the store and their Black Friday deals were labeled on the maps employees were handing out. Accompanying each map was a free sample of an energy boosting beverage, not a wise choice on the part of the proprietor in my opinion, but appreciated by some of my fellow GPS deal-seekers.

The line forming behind the shrink-wrapped pallets of deals may as well have been my high school reunion.  At midnight, an employee pulled out a pocket knife, cut the shrink wrap off the pallet they were assigned and walked away. Sure, there was grabbing and some inconsiderate steering of shopping carts, but nothing compared to the horror stories I had read about and seen on TV. It was no place for a claustrophobic person such as me, but I had been lost one too many times with a baby in the backseat as I tried to navigate a new city.  I felt strongly about our need for GPS.

Last year I sat on the same couch in my small hometown and read through the fliers atop my eight-month-pregnant belly. My husband, who is anti-shopping no matter the day of the year, made it clear that I was not going Black Friday shopping at midnight, alone and eight-months-pregnant.

I then shared with him the items I was considering purchasing – and their prices. They were items we had recently discussed as needs and wants in our home. The difference in price found him behind the wheel of our minivan at midnight, driving his Black Friday-loving wife to the biggest sale of the year.  He even created a game-plan: “divide and conquer.”

And so our daughters now have a purple bike to ride, this directionally challenged mother has a GPS, and my husband has a better understanding of why I pore over the grocery store flier each Sunday evening.

Do we push and holler and trample our way to a deal? Certainly not! Do we compromise time with our family to shop? No, my children are always sleeping. In fact, last year’s Black Friday experience was bonding for my husband and I, who felt like teammates on a mission.

We’re raising a large family and although our income ebbs, flows, and grows each year, I will always be mindful and prudent with our resources.  This is the type of shopper I am every other day of the year, and the shopper I will be one Friday each November.

I stand in line twice annually for our grocery store’s meat sale and I will stand in line at midnight one day out of the year to get the best price on items our family needs – and maybe there’ll be a few wants thrown in as well.  A penny saved is a penny earned, no matter the date on the calendar.

Question for you: Do you have strong feelings about Black Friday? Share them in the comments!

Copyright 2013 Holly Rutchik

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About Author

Holly Rutchik is a Catholic mother and writer living in WI where she and her husband, Joseph parent 3 daughters. Holly has contributed to several anthologies including the Cup of Comfort series and has written for diocesan newspapers and several magazines including Family Foundations magazine. She holds her masters degree in religious studies and blogs about Catholic motherhood, faith and culture at fallingupwardholly.blogspot.com.

4 Comments

  1. Great article Holly. I am a real failure at shopping, but Greg and I have enjoyed shopping for our boys’ Christmas gifts together the past few years too. We usually do most of it in one day (not Black Friday, because I’m not that organized). For the two of us, we’ve made a “no present pact” with each other, which actually releases some of the stress in trying to figure out what to buy him. I love that the two of you do this together – thanks for a new perspective on Black Friday. Enjoy your date this year!

  2. I was never a fan of Black Friday growing up but I recently discovered the planning and deals involved save my family boatloads of money. I will be heading out or possible ordering online tomorrow. I refuse to get involved in any kind of craziness for an item but if I get the item I want for the price I want I am willing to stand in line. BTW, I too was 8 months pregnant last year and nobody wanted me to go by myself so my in-laws tagged along while my hubby stayed with our other two sleeping kids. Really like your article on the other side of Black Friday.

  3. We actually have a Black Friday tradition of getting up early, doing a doorbuster or two, including getting the kids their next sizes up of winter coats. Then we go to Mass and out to breakfast. Best of all, we go home and EVERYONE naps!

  4. I appreciated this different perspective on this subject. It’s much like other things – it all depends on your intention and how you approach the whole matter. It sounds like, if one is going to participate in Black Friday deals, they’d better have a clear idea of what they are looking for ahead of time or they may end up wasting both their time and their money.

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