Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday: Leave Me Out

With the economy the way it is, I thought America's orgy of consumerism was coming to an end. But I've just read emails from two teenagers, one in LA and one in Redding, who along with their moms, spent the night out waiting for stores to open this morning. The girl in LA said at 1:30 a.m. that the line was wrapped several times around Best Buy.
This happened today: "WalMart Worker Killed by Black Friday Mob." Those crazy people, desperate to save 50 cents, should all be home baking cookies! Mobs are horrible and frightening.

I have only participated in so-called Black Friday a few times. The first was about five years ago when my sister-in-law included me in her plans. We scoped out the sale flyers from the newspaper as if mapping out a war strategy. Then we braved the crowds at the mall (at a reasonable time in the morning, after coffee) to spend our money, frantically, along with apparently everyone else in town.

It was interesting, kind of like a sport, and it was followed by a marathon gift-wrapping session, fortified by eggnog and Thanksgiving leftovers. But somehow I don't think it actually saved our families any money.

There are many reasons why I won't be participating in Black Friday this year, for example, I think it's creepy. But the most pertinent one is that I am broke. I need to actually save money, not just lie to myself that I did. When it comes to the children, my own and my nephew's, I will buy things. But the rest of us, what do we really need that comes from a store?
Don't worry, I'm not going to become a Scrooge. In fact, I fully intend to start decorating my house today and also wrapping the few little gifts I've picked up here and there. I'm going to make things this year, for example, I already made soap yesterday. Over my break, I have already addressed Christmas cards.
I just want to tone it down, less consumerism, less allowing commercial interests to manufacture my discontent just to line their own pockets. We all need to keep our safety nets intact right now, our savings accounts and our personal relationships.

Check out this site "Buy Nothing Christmas." It has a few good ideas. And there are many more sites like that out there with gift ideas.


Kym said...

I was in Winco on Tuesday and finally left before I had gotten everything because the crush suffocated me!

Ernie Branscomb said...

My wife is a retailer and we depend on the Christmas season to put the icing on the cake, so to speak. I'm with you in that I think that people should spread out their shopping and make it more fun, but from the retailers standpoint they want to sell out of the inventory that they put in stock for their Christmas sales. That means that they have to be first to sell you something because that market is gone for them if you already buy it somewhere else.

The shortages and the other baloney that surrounds Christmas sales is mostly promotion and not really based on fact. It annoys me that as retailers they will only give us our "dole" of merchandise so they can perpetrate the "Shortage". But most everything that is sold was made in China last summer.

Also, I hate grocery shopping, and hate all the sale tags, it especially gripes me when they put a great big flashy tag on something and you find that it is to tell you about their "everyday low price".
And coupons, I hate coupons, I hate drawings, I hate rebates. And I hate games. Why can't I just walk into a store a buy something at a fair price???

I know I used the word "hate" a lot, and it is such a strong word, but it must not be strong enough because they are still doing it!

lemond said...

I am dumbfounded by the news reports of lines around stores and the mob mentality that black friday has created. I was under a false impression that people had come to their senses this holiday season.
I was in Eureka on Tuesday and was tempted to make some purchases that in the past I would have made, having been lulled by my false sense of security in the economic state of the world. I felt good about refraining and hoped that others were doing the same this year. Apparently not.
My family is planning on a smaller Christmas. I plan on supporting the local SoHum shops for what I do buy.

Indie said...

I did go out a buy a couple a little gifts for my baby nephews late this afternoon, at the local nursery/garden shop. It was uncrowded, pleasant and friendly. I'm so happy I didn't have to go in any other stores.

I'm listening to Christmas carols and eating turkey soup right now. Christmas seems like a lovely prospect since I'm going post-modern this year.

lemond said...

When you say postmodern, do you mean that you are celebrating the aesthetics and philosophy of Christmas? Going back to the traditions that Christmas was built on before it became a shopping holiday. I think I like that.

Indie said...

Lemond, you make it sound much more intellectual than I imagined, but yes. A return to the simple pleasures as much as possible.

Your term is so poignant, "shopping holiday." I don't want to shop. I want to bake and craft. And I totally agree with you about buying local.

Anonymous said...

Hi K! My words from deep inside. We don't have something like your Black Friday, but I know what it is. Anyway, who isn't really broke this year, huh? Right now I'm even refusing Christmas and Advent decoration *sigh* eventhough tomorrow will be the first of Advent around here. Cookie baking for x-mas I gave up a long time ago anyway. So like you I decided into toning it down, I have gathered a few things to do arts & crafts (I will post pictures some time) and even for the few I bought already wouldn't actually be money there *double deep sigh* and now my hubby/boyfriend wants to go skiing (his treat on us again), while I could let them perform wellness to my 'lean and healthy' body ;-P Holy Eve we'll eat at the Italian place again and that's Christmas. Money will be back in my pocket at the end of the year... think anybody would mind if I'd just postpone Christmas until then? ;-/ At least my mood would be better at that time. Hugs my friend, R.

Indie said...

Hi, R!! All this crafty, domestic energy of mine is only because this week is my vacation from school. The grim reality is that next week, school begins again, with a vicious push toward final exams, projects and deadlines. *sigh*

Your ski/spa weekend (like last year) sounds amazing! If someone offered me a spa weekend in the Alps, I'd be all over it! Enjoy, my friend.

And somehow, I don't see you resisting the urge to bake over the holiday. Maybe it is because you give so much time and energy to all the other occasions throughout the year that you want to take a break for Christmas.

My tree is covered in stroh this year. I have decorated it entirely Swedish folk style, in all red and white and green. It's so pretty. I'll post a picture here soon.