Black Friday Is One Big, Fat Artificial Deadline

Black Friday saleMy husband tells me all the time that I set artificial deadlines.

“We have to be at the kids’ school by 5 pm” — it’s really 5:30 pm.

“We need to have the room painted by next Saturday” — it really doesn’t matter.

I totally do. I make no apologies for it. It’s how I function. I was never the kid who waited until the last minute to finish a term paper or study for a test. In college on the eve of a big deadline for class, I’d be sipping a beer or swing dancing (yes, I went to school in the 90’s) while my roommates crammed.

Apply that to real life and my formula works great – and worked great on my husband until he caught on to me. Now he works on his own timeline – even double-checking flight times when we go on a trip because I have been known to lie about our departure time to make sure I get to the gate in time to buy a magazine and a Coke. (Sigh – my gig is up.)

So how does this tie in to Black Friday shopping? It’s society’s big artificial deadline for holiday gift-giving. When I was a kid – you started shopping on Black Friday. Now you can almost hear the audible sigh of shock when people hear you haven’t even started by then.

I refuse to take on one more deadline for myself. I’ve bought two gifts so far this season, and that’s only because I had a store credit that was about to expire. While I won’t be shopping on Christmas Eve in a mad flurry (like my husband) – I am equally as sure that I won’t be out shopping on Friday. I have learned that outside of a few fire sale deals – the sales are just as good after “the day”. And even if they’re not – why would I want to get pushed and shoved and stressed when all I really want to do is work out at the gym after my Thanksgiving Day feast?

Beyond that, events like Black Friday make it awfully tempting to overspend for the holiday. Enter in a crowded store with mass chaos and the collective “high” of a spending frenzy and I’m more likely to whip out the Visa and spend money I hadn’t budgeted for. And for what? For the ability to have something a little nicer or shinier under the tree? I doubt the person I’m purchasing for would want me to be in debt for something they probably didn’t need to begin with.

More and more, I’ve become an online shopper. I’m a coupon “Googler.” My Black Friday comes on whatever day and whatever time I want – while I’m in my yoga pants and sipping my coffee. I have time to really think about purchases, to customize gifts with monograms or engravings – and really show I’ve put some thought behind it.

And given how I feel about “Black Friday,” you can only imagine how I feel about what I call “Thankless Thanksgiving.” I refuse to go anywhere on Thanksgiving. It’s a day reserved for families (don’t we deserve at least one day a year?). If I go out, then I’m just perpetuating the perceived demand by stores to make employees come in and work.

So what’s my point? Take the pressure off yourself. The stores aren’t going anywhere. There are plenty of Frozen dolls available. Take a breath and take the day off with your family. Go see a movie and chuckle – like I do – at the jam-packed parking lot of frantic shoppers.

 




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