This will probably make me sound like an a—hole, but shopping bothers the bejeezus out of me. Seriously. Nothing is more of a hassle to me than shopping. Childhood memories of being trapped in the fitting room with my mom at Lane Bryant and haggling with street vendors with my aunt have scarred me for life. The trying on of clothes and testing of appliances and checking of prices and negotiation of discounts is nothing short of tedious and annoying. So it should come as no surprise that the Black Friday tradition is the equivalent to my idea of Kryponite. I try to avoid it at all costs.
But doesn’t every girl want to be a glamazon like Tyra or RuPaul? Or even an online style maven like Karla Deras or Patrice Grell Yursik? Not I. According to my mother I have always been a stubborn goat about shopping, baby dolls and dress up. She’s the complete opposite – she’s the type that likes to go to the mall just to walk around and look at people. For her Black Friday is like a perfect trifecta: crazy acting people, low prices and shopping. Me? I’m more likely to identify with some e card picture that everyone is posting on Facebook, lamenting the fact that Black Friday pressed-ness has taken over the ‘thankful’ spirit of Thanksgiving. What is it about price manipulation on electronics that whips people into such a frenzied state? Are your kids really going to be using the stuffed animals and gadgets you’re fighting other soccer moms for six months after Christmas? Is it really that serious? Maybe I’m lazy, but can’t you just cop it on Amazon and have it delivered to your door? What is the real root of the desire rush out and buy things you’ll have to return anyway?
The whole shebang must have some appeal other than ‘low, low prices.’ People must enjoy throwing ‘bows over overpriced Bose systems. Maybe the cardiovascular exercise shoppers get from powerwalking/racing other customers for the last of the Vikram 5 finger shoes helps them work off grandma’s pecan pie. Maybe folks just dig the camaraderie that comes with standing together thirstily waiting for Best Buy to open. Or maybe some people just love the thrill of the hunt. Whatever it is, it’s disturbing the balance of the holiday season schedule. For the first time in my life stores have been putting out the Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. At this rate Black Friday will get pushed back to July by 2025. Insanity. STOP THE MADNESS.
Something about huddling in the cold and dark just to get a product, whatever it is, makes me feel claustrophobic, like I literally cannot breathe. Even if you get that $50 sweater for $40, it was probably made for $2 overseas by someone making $0.50 a day. I’m not here for the shoving and the trampling that in the end make people like the Waltons even richer. I’m not here for the desperate commercials aimed at making people feel like they have to spend all their money on holiday presents just to feed the Black Friday machine. What I am here for, though, is forgoing the mall and taking some extra time to hang out with my grandparents. I’m here for reading to my god-brothers and little cousins and learning how to make auntie’s famous oyster stuffing. Thanksgiving is for family, food and friendship, not fisticuffs over the Fall deals at Filene’s. And if I end up having the urge to blow some cash on Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hannukah gifts, best believe that I will be doing it from the comfort of my home on Cyber Monday.