Shunning Black Friday

Abbi Overfelt Life goes on

November 18, 2013

Is it too early to be thinking about holiday shopping?

Depends on what team you’re on.

I know people who go ballistic when their favorite stores don’t leak a Black Friday ad by the end of trick-or-treating — heck, I used to be one of them.

I’ve never had the big bucks to spend on one of the items on which you can save the most, for example a flat-screen television or shiny new camera lens. What used to draw me out every year was the excitement that rivaled Christmas morning, nearly a month ahead of the big day.

Black Friday is like Christmas morning for people who love to give gifts — and they act just like young children on Christmas day. You get up at 3 a.m., after barely sleeping the night before, fight other early birds over the holy grail of presents and by noon, the stores have cleared, and everyone has returned home, likely collapsing on a pile of steals and deals with a belly once again full of turkey.

Even though the promise of saving a pile of money is appealing, what really draws these shoppers in is the thrill of the hunt — and although I will likely miss the excitement, this is the first year of many that I won’t be participating in the madness.

Why, you ask? Because this is the first year that stores have opened on Thanksgiving Day itself, and I have my limits.

Some are shunning the practice because it means that people have to work so that others can shop; but having experience shopping in retail, I can guarantee that people would be at work even if the store was closed. Retail is driven by holiday sales, and working holidays comes with the job.

I refuse to participate because I can see that it has gone too far.

Holiday music already plays in stores well before Thanksgiving, and in some cases even before Halloween. I remember seeing red-and-green wreaths next to cornucopias and T-rex costumes on store shelves in early October.

I’m no grinch, but can we just have one thing at a time, please?

Can we enjoy the holidays as they come without worrying about what’s next? Aren’t our lives fast-paced enough without worrying about filling the Christmas stocking at the same time we’re buying a Halloween costume? Do we really, constantly need to be reminded that our wallets are already stretched much too thin to possibly conquer an ever-growing wish list for not only little Timmy or Susie, but also for ourselves?

The answer to the last question is probably the reason why I’m really saying no to all the excitement, all the traffic, and all the noise — because I refuse for my life to be dictated by people who say it’s only important what you buy and how much you spend and how many things you can stuff under the huge tree you bought and decorated for your living room.

On Thanksgiving Day, more than ever, the goal is not to be filling your home with more things, but being thankful for what you already have.

This year, retailers have missed the point.