2012-11-29 / Telling It Like It Is

Telling It Like It Is

Black Friday Is The Start Of More Colorless Days
By Dara Mormile

I 've never gone shopping on Black Friday. If I did – I shopped locally for things that weren't meant to be holiday gifts. I don't believe in waiting four days in advance outside of a huge retail shop and imitating a piranha that hasn't eaten in days. I understand that there are crazy and unbelievable deals on Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving when retailers offer the biggest deals to kick off the holiday season – but people get crazy when they don't have to.

The only thing I did recently that came close to holiday shopping was perusing Kings Plaza Mall a few days after Black Friday – and stores were STILL mobbed with blood-thirsty bargain hunters who were yelling at cashiers about incorrect sale prices and changes they wanted to make to their purchases.

For years, I've opted to shop online for gifts – whether they were sentimental or functional items, like electronics. It's faster and less socially aggravating and sometimes you don't even need to wait until Cyber Monday for good deals if you subscribe to an online retailer that offers special bargains via e-mail.

I have a few grievances about Black Friday shopping and the real stress that results from trying to bag a bargain for that someone special during the holidays.

Is Black Friday the ONLY day to go shopping? Do you realize how many amazing deals are out there during the rest of the year? What's wrong with prepping for the holidays by purchasing items when they're in their retail prime a little earlier in the year? You can purchase that huge television when Super Bowl Sunday comes around and electronic stores are competing to make a sale. TVs and other electronics don't expire and can be stored well into the latter part of the year. Other than testing those electronics and hoping they still work months later, there aren't many drawbacks to being an early bird. Backto school season is another great time to take advantage of computer and clothing sales. You're going to wait in line from five in the morning just for a store to open, and then you're going to wait in long lines to make your purchases. Why not purchase the gifts MONTHS earlier altogether?

Those electronics you buy…will be OLD by next year. That's right – that Kindle, Smartphone, computer and music player are going to be upgraded in a year or two, so the recipient will be constantly upgrading operating systems and most of those “gifts” keep on TAKING instead of giving – your time and money, that is. With funds I received from Christmas last year, I got an iPod Touch, but then I had to set up an account with Apple and the constant upgrades began depleting my enjoyment of the device. There's nothing like a gift that says “enjoy – but only if you have an online bank account and money to keep spending!”

There's a lack of sentimentality in most of the gifts you're waiting in line for. When it comes to impersonal gifts like lotion sets, picture frames, slippers and the ever-popular shoe or tie rack for your boss, shopping can be done well after Black Friday. Think about whom you're buying that gift for and what they've done for you over the past year. We know kids are demanding and have certain requests when it comes to holiday gifts, but I think it's foolish to push and shove through a store on Black Friday, still asking yourself what to get for your beloved neighbor or friend. This is just a suggestion - but plenty of local stores sell merchandise with which you can create a personal gift. What about getting someone the gift of being pampered? Those kinds of presents say, “I know you work hard - so instead of a crappy gift that will collect dust in your bedroom for years, here's something that will relax you!”

Admit it: You're one of the rude people who starts a fuss while you're bargain hunting on Black Friday. There's always that ONE person who complains and gives customer service a hard time at the checkout counter, making everyone else wait. Forget about being trampled on just to get into that store. Once you're in the midst of those pre-holiday shopping wars as you walk down the aisle, you can't escape that loud and aggressive mom holding up a jacket and screaming about the price to her kids.

Once you're on the checkout line, you've got a dozen people talking to themselves about what they forgot or what they picked up that's the wrong size. Then, they abandon their carts in the middle of the looooong line and you're left saving them a spot, pushing their cart for them as the line moves forward. All of a sudden, Black Friday makes you feel like you're AT WORK having to deal with other people's problems.

Is this any way to kick off the holiday season? Let’s get real. It doesn’t get any better to shop on those days and weeks following Black Friday. I think they should call it Black Friday because it’s one of the only shopping days people are willing to give a perfect stranger a black eye in order to get that sale price. Or it can be renamed “Retail Hell Friday.”

What I personally miss is the mom and pop shops in Canarsie that sold perfect gifts and they were convenient. You didn’t have to travel for hours and then wait in long lines at big box stores and deal with unruly crowds.

I don’t know what colors the rest of the shopping days are, but I’m sure glad I never got out my black marker with the rest of the saving savages!

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