Black Friday shopping: Are you taking part in the madness?

For the first time last year, I shopped on Black Friday. Or Brown Thursday. Or whatever being at my local mall at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and shopping until the wee hours of Friday morning is called. I’ve never done it before, and I’m not sure that I would do it again. But man did I have a good time!

I usually have my kids on Thanksgiving night and it’s never occurred to me to go shopping at midnight. There wasn’t anything that I needed that badly, but I didn’t think ill of those that did.  (However, I will admit that I question the sanity of those people who pitch a tent and camp out in front of your local big-box electronics store 3-4 days in advance.)  It just wasn’t something on my radar.

Last year, my girls were with their dad on Thanksgiving and the stores opened at 8 p.m.  I had a few specific things that I was looking to get and I thought, “What the heck?!”  To me, it wasn’t all that outrageous to head to the mall at 8 p.m. on a Thursday night when I didn’t have plans and didn’t have any kids with me.

So off I went with my coupons in hand and a list of a few things that I was looking for. My sweetie was game to go with me (or just took one for the team) and joined. After completing my first mission and getting my new cordless drill (exciting, right?) and spending a whopping $13 for it (awesome sale price + gift cards), we wandered around the mall and picked up sale items here and there, getting things checked off our gift list.

It was fun. We had fun. And the mall was PACKED.

My kids are gone again this year for Thanksgiving. I know that there is a big movement again for people to stay home on Thanksgiving evening so that retail employees will get to stay home. The thought is that if there are no customers shopping, then the stores won’t have to open.

Logical, yes. But not going to happen, no matter how many times we share this “pledge” photo on Facebook.

The holiday shopping season has lost its mind. Holidays in general. We don’t celebrate anything IN. THE. MOMENT. Craft stores have had their Christmas decorations up since July.  Retail stores went from back-to-school to holiday collections. If you don’t buy your kids a winter coat and boots in August when the temperature is sitting at 80 degrees plus, you won’t find them when it’s 30 degrees and snowing. Because stores will be stocked with their spring break collections by then and you will be (BLEEP) out of luck.

I’ve stopped trying to fight the retail system that, in my opinion, is completely insane. I use my purchasing power to support stores that I believe in – big and small. Especially when it comes to dressing my daughters. Don’t get me started on the insanity of fashions for nine- and six-year-old girls, and how hard it is to find clothing that is modest, without trashy graphics, and that covers their body. I could go on for hours.

For now, I’ll shop on Black Friday if I have coupons and a need for something. I won’t shop for the sake of shopping. Lord knows after purging 1/3 of my house when I moved, I certainly don’t need any more stuff.

What are your thoughts on the Brown Thursday/Black Friday shopping debate?

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