When I was young, my mom and I made it to the mall every Black Friday in search of deals. What we got instead, because we are Indian after all and being early isn’t in our DNA, were long lines, shops that looked like my brother and my teenage bedrooms. Thirty minutes into our shopping extravaganza, we’d give up and sit down for a yummy food court meal from Sarku Japan. We always shared one entrée–we are both extremely light eaters–and judge everyone who was shopping. What’s the big deal? The sales aren’t even that good. We can’t even try anything on. Never mind that we were also out shopping with the masses. We were still above it all. Each year we did this forgetting our awful experience from the last. Until, three years ago when I finally said no to shopping on Black Friday, reminding my mom of all the stress we go through and end up with nothing to show–no amazing deals to add to the Black Friday Legends, no perfect Christmas presents, no unique item that we’d been waiting to go on sale.
Some of this has to do with our inability to wake up before the sun’s gloriously rays and wait in line outside in the cold. While some of it has to do with our true hatred of crowds. What we were after was time with each other to dish about family gossip, our lives and our dreams and sit on our soap boxes for a bit and point our pointy little fingers at others. While this sounds totally negative as I write it, I also believe that all of it is part of human nature. Once we figured out we could do all those things sans Black Friday shopping, we quit, stayed home–quilt free!
It’s no wonder then, when I saw my Facebook news feed, that I got all nostalgic. Last night my Facebook news feed was bombarded with news of friends who were out in the trenches, shopping, and friends posting “Boycott Black Friday” messages. What is the right decision here? While I hate to think that because a store chose to stay open on Thanksgiving night and thus, workers have to work on a night meant to be for families, these workers did choose money/working over family. I can easily climb back on my soap box and point my finger judging them. However, I don’t know the circumstances that have forced them into working that night. I mean my own father has worked every holiday since I was 14 years old. Two weeks ago someone told me to put myself above my money. This got me thinking what this looks like. You see I grew in a household that struggled for money and money was at the center of the family instead of our relationships.
How do you realistic do that–put yourself first, and money next? Suze Orman, my financial guru, says, people first, then money, then things. I’d like to amend that to me first, people second, money third, then things. If this is my belief, shopping on Black Friday isn’t a priority. However, everyone deserves the dignity to make their own decisions. Thus, unlike my usual style which is tell everyone how to live their life, I plan to live and let live today. Shop if that’s a priority. Work if that’s a priority. Me? I plan to spend the day romancing my husband, unwinding, eating some sweet potato pie, and doing nothing.
Black Friday: A day of freedom. Do what you love and forget the rest.