Why I Skip Black Friday

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One of the big rituals of the Thanksgiving weekend, one among many, is Black Friday. If you’ve been living in a cave for the last ten years, Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving where retailers deeply discount a few items in the hopes that people come to the stores in the early hours and spend a lot of money. It’s been muted in recent years because of the economic slowdown but every year there’s still a lot of attention on it. It’s called Black Friday because it’s supposedly when retailers turn a profit on the year. The “black” in Black Friday, in this case, is a good thing (unlike every other time Black [Day] is used).

You have several classes of “deals” on Black Friday – regular sales and deeply discounted items. The deeply discounted items have limited availability and you usually need to get there as the store opens, which will be very early in the morning, to get them. The regular sales are your “doorbuster” types that last until 11am or noon.

The last time I did any Black Friday early morning shopping was back in the late 2000’s when I was home on break from college. One of the electronic stores, like an Office Depot or Best Buy, had a Kodak digital camera on sale for $99. I waited in line outside of the store, it was a mad house (it’s insane how crazy people get over things). I got the camera, it was totally not worth it, and I vow never to do it again… and here’s why.

The Crowds Are Insane

What happens when you put a bunch of cranky people together fighting over some discounted products? Insanity.

People will do some stupid things for the opportunity to buy something cheap. Just think of the scenes in movies where you have NATO distributing food to impoverished locals and those crowds are probably calmer than Black Friday shoppers. Don’t believe me? In 2008, a Wal-Mart employee died when shoppers broke down the doors to a Wal-Mart and trampled him. They weren’t handing out diamonds or bars of gold, it was a Wal-Mart! There’s no other word to describe that other than insanity. (a 28-year old pregnant woman and three other shoppers suffered injuries at that Wal-Mart that day)

Too Many People

There will be a lot of people. That means you’ll have to fight through the crowd to get what you want, if it’s still available, and you’ll have to wait eons in line to check out. If you’re lucky and you get out of the store with what you wanted, you’ll probably have to face a little bit of traffic to get out of the lot and home. All that to save a few bucks on something, that’s if you get it, seems like a steep price to pay.

You Can Shop Online

Cyber Monday is the Monday right after Black Friday and it’s the online equivalent, though the deals usually aren’t as good as in the stores. The best part about all this is that the Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads will have been leaked online so you can do a little research to find out which is better in terms of cash savings. I personally find shopping online to be easier since you can avoid the crowds. You might have to get up early (or stay up late) to take advantage of but it beats getting dressed, trudging out into the cold, and fighting crowds for the chance to buy some discounted stuff.

Do you plan on participating in Black Friday? Or Cyber Monday?

{ 9 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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9 Responses to “Why I Skip Black Friday”

  1. Shirley says:

    I don’t enjoy being in the midst of a very unruly, discourteous and possibly dangerous crowd, so I stick to online shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There are a great many online deals to take advantage of throughout the entire Thanksgiving week and I don’t have to take the chance of risking life or limb in crazy mobs.

    I went to a K-Mart years ago early on a Thanksgiving morning to pick up one item. I got there as the doors were opening and proceeded to enter with the crowd. This was before “Black Friday” was instituted and I had no idea that I was breaking any unspoken rules. Someone yelled, “Get to the back of the line, lady.” and another woman grabbed my arm and said, “You could get shot for that.” That ended crowd shopping for me!

  2. Joe says:

    I personally love Black Friday. It’s a great social experiment to see what happens to humanity when they’re given great deals.

    However, I typically do all my Christmas shopping this day, and do tend to save a bundle. It’s all about preparation and experience. If you want the $200 TV and show up at 5 AM, you aren’t getting it. However, there are deals on Blu-Rays, Video Games, and consoles that are too good to pass up.

    I can see why people can’t stand it, but if you have the right attitude, you’ll thrive.

  3. As long as I don’t have anything that I “have” to get, I actually like going out on Black Friday. I leisurely wake up (maybe 8 or 9), and go out just to watch the “insanity”. It amazes me to watch people willing to stand in check-out lines that are estimated at a 3 hour wait just to save $10 on [fill in the blank]. There is an intense desperation in the air, and the social atmosphere is unlike any other I have ever known.

    Note: I don’t actually go and stand in those lines. I like to just walk around and people-watch, seeing the way they react to the Black Friday “deals”.

  4. Husker Avid says:

    I always go out on Black Friday. Love it! I love the insanity of it. I feel BF helps to discipline my buying–I usually am about 50% complete after hitting the stores. I would not wait in line for three hours. I will, however, show up at midnight! Loony? Perhaps, but we all have to have a quirk or two.

  5. Steve says:

    The last time I attempted to go to a BF sale at an electronics store, I saw three accidents in the parking lot (one I saw in progress and two I saw after they happened.) I left that parking lot as fast yet as carefully as I could.

    I vastly prefer shopping online, but even then, chasing after The Deals seems to require a lot of effort, compromising on quality, or both.

  6. Nate says:

    Jim, I’m with you, it’s too insane and too many people out. I can’t remember the last time I even went out on Black Friday.

  7. Marshall Quimby says:

    It,s called Thanksgiving a time for family and friends to gather, Not Thanks for giving to the corparate greed,to stand in a line at 4 AM to find some deal that you will never get(out of that iteam by the time you get through the 3 hour line) Here is a thought lets take back our holiday and not show up till BLUE SAT!!!! How about the protesters go to the stores at 4 AM with signs and take back what is ours.

  8. Prairie says:

    I agree with Marshall. Everywhere you turn there’s promotions about the deals for BF I’m sick of it. In our area they started the Christmas season before Halloween. Is this really necessary? Christmas has become all about the merchants and not about it’s true meaning. I am not participating in BF.

  9. poscogrubb says:

    Never did it and cross-my-fingers never will.

    My number 1 reason for skipping black Friday: Having fun at home with family – cousins, kids, nephews and nieces. That’s so much better than the craziness in the cramped, cold cosmos of capitalist consumerism.

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