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Your take: Do you Black Friday?

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Your take: Do you Black Friday?It’s been years since I actually went shopping for Black Friday, but I picture it looking kind of like the illustration above.

According to a report by the National Retail Federation, today 140 million Americans will besiege their local big-box stores and malls like a marauding army, but they’ll be out for deals rather than blood (in most cases).

In my experience, Black Friday is pretty polarizing: You either love it and don’t understand what all the haters are yapping about, or you think it’s ridiculous and the only way you participate is online or by watching the chaos unfold on the morning news.

Personally, every time someone mentions that they’re planning to go out for some Black Friday shopping, it makes me want to ask them if they’ll pick me up a sweet new pair of Bad Idea Jeans while they’re there. Retailers wouldn’t do Black Friday sales year in and year out if it didn’t make them giant Death Star-sized piles of cash. They lure you in with promises of great deals but have so few of those “loss leaders” on hand that they’re quickly absorbed by the grasping mob that, judging by the most press coverage, may or may not trample you.

After that, there may be some good deals, but there will also be plenty of less discounted items people will end up buying just to fill out their Christmas lists or simply because it’s there and it looks cool.

On the other hand, I have some really smart, frugal friends who swear that taking care of their holiday shopping on Black Friday saves them hundreds of dollars every year.

Here’s my friend and colleague Katie Doyle on her plan, and why she loves Black Friday:

I heart Black Friday shopping. I have a 2-year-old. She’s awesome and a princess, and I love her with all that I am, but the poor kid was born two weeks after Christmas! So to avoid the dreaded birthday-Christmas combo gift, I scour the stores for every deal in the tri-state area. So Black Friday, and its deal bonanza, holds a special place in my heart.

Here we are, three days out from Black Friday shopping, and I have a spreadsheet of what I want to get her. It has about 30 items on it, no joke. But I am a frugal Fannie, so thank (-sgiving) goodness for Black Friday. Black Friday deals are the peanut butter to my buying-needs jelly. I can knock out most of my shopping list AND save huge bucks. I’ve scoured the corners of the Internets to find deals, so on the spreadsheet, I keep a column of where to find said item at a discount this week! Black Friday sales, I heart you.

Here’s the plan so far: Wake up before dawn. Hit Target, Lilly Pulitzer, Toys ‘R’ Us, Michaels. Kmart, Gymboree, Janie and Jack. But questions remain: How many (Disney, pink, Fisher Price, pink, princess, pink) gifts can I load up this Friday to make a dent in my prissy girl’s gift spreadsheet without making a huge dent in my wallet? And which family members can I drag along to keep the Thanksgiving togetherness alive, while we tag-team the list? (And how will I hide these things from the prying eyes of said girl?)

I haven’t quite figured that out yet, but I have high hopes for hot sales, happy holidays and a happy birthday!

So I’ll put the question to you: Do you Black Friday, and why, or why not?

{ 11 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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11 Responses to “Your take: Do you Black Friday?”

  1. scott grover says:

    I dislike the how it marginalizes Thanksgiving, making it an inconvenience and afterthought.

  2. Karl says:

    I’ve never been. Watching people get suckered into buying things they don’t need and can’t afford does not appeal to me. My wonderful immediate and extended family does not shop Black Friday nor do we exchange gifts. We do spend time together and enjoy it. Really great people.

    There is so much data that suggests (proves) that things don’t buy happiness and today’s must haves are next years garbage that its clear that most people aren’t thinking through their choices.

    We are capable of great things but we can’t focus on them when we are focusing on saving a few hundred dollars on things we don’t need/can’t afford. I just don’t get it (and no I’m not a political zealot on either side; I just think we should ALL be more responsible so we can solve our problems AND be happy).

  3. I have been Black Friday shopping before. I also routinely find those sales items on sale at the same price later before Christmas so I stopped doing it.

  4. Emm says:

    25 years ago I was very, very good at finding the best Black Friday deals and executed the skill for 3 years. Back then I was a new homeowner and found the needed household goods and then USEFUL items for my family.

    Now, I need no more STUFF and same among friends, family.

    Having ‘forgotten’ it was Black Friday about couple years ago, I went out to just get simple daily necessities & found the ‘atmosphere’ around it is horrendous; people have become so much more selfish, ruthless and downright mean. Some don’t play fair and most have no patience. I am done with that scene.

  5. Sharon says:

    No, I’m not a Black Friday shopper. I don’t like to shop-period- so I certainly wouldn’t venture out into the Thanksgiving weekend madness.

    On a somewhat related not, I find it a little bit hard to believe that an actual 140 million Americans will be out shopping during this time. The U.S. population is an estimated 313 million – 73 million of whom are children. This leaves 240 million adults. It’s hard to believe that more than HALF of that number are out there ‘bargain hunting’ during this time. Maybe 140 million ‘shoppers,’ eg., overlap of many of the same people going to different stores, but 140 million individual Americans??!! Nope, just don’t think so.

  6. Barb says:

    I still have unopened items from 1-2 years ago in my house meaning that my buying today was much less. I had some needs and wants. I needed new socks, shoes for work, and shoes to workout. I want more work shoes, a new candle and soundbar for my television (wanted for a year). I bought some things online as ASOS meaning I am avoiding new work clothes shopping.
    There was less people out today and it was more enjoyable because of it. No fights near me. We were all civil.

  7. Joy says:

    Did it once about 35 years ago and will never do it again!

  8. DeskJockey says:

    I tried Black Friday once. Never again – crazy people literally ripping things out of other people’s hands, tug-of-war with clothing, customers yelling at clerks when the sale item was gone. Greedy, spoiled children masquerading as adults. Maybe the coal that’s being sent to China isn’t for burning to make electricity: its for all the misbehaving shoppers’ stockings (I heard Santa laid off the elves and outsourced everything to China)

  9. Steven Le says:

    I’ve never been to a black friday sale. I’ve just seen some videos on youtube and man, it looks horrid. I already hate waiting in lines and being in huge crowds, but I never really thought black friday sales were that hectic! I agree with what others are saying though, people spend money on things they don’t need there just because there’s a sale! The word sale is so powerful haha. Avoid at all cost, no pun intended, necessary!

  10. Stephanie says:

    If you have some big ticket item you’ve been saving for & can get it on a black Friday sale, go for it. Other than that, I can’t see doing it, certainly not for gifts for Christmas. You need to put thought and originality into your gifts. Also you need to support your local small stores & you find so much more & do so much more good for the local economy. My husband didn’t believe it was so horrible. A few years ago he wanted something ?? can’t remember what but insisted since I had the day off to go shop for it. By the time we waited about 2 hrs to try to get a parking spot, we left & I convinced him it wasn’t the best day to just shop for “fun” Deals are still there before & after anyway if you want to shop at God awful Walmart or something. I hope no one does.

  11. Gwen H. says:

    No not anymore. I find that I am able to save more money if I can shop slowly during the year. Then I can look at the sales and my gift list.

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