We are now in the midst of the official holiday season. That means it’s time for good food, family fun and Black Friday deals. Well, this is the case for most people, at least. My wife Dannie and I, however, avoid Black Friday at all costs.
In my honest opinion, Black Friday is nothing more than a carefully calculated sham. It serves no purpose other than to add to an ever-increasing consumerist lifestyle — something many Americans have grown accustomed to over the years.
Admittedly, I gave into the hype years ago, when I was a newly employed college graduate. I grew up watching members of my family wake up before dawn to chase Black Friday deals. So, when I finally had money of my own to spend, I thought it would be great to see what it was like for myself. I had no clue what I was setting myself up for.
A Rude Awakening
I woke up at the ungodly hour of 3 a.m., to stand in line at the local Walmart. The only thing I wanted to buy was the 32-inch TV they were selling at what I thought was a great price.
When the doors finally opened at 6 a.m., I realized how woefully unprepared I was for the Black Friday shopping experience. I was on the track team in high school, but the footrace that ensued was surprising, even to me. The scene inside the store was chaotic, with people frantically loading their carts up with kitchen appliances, electronics and everything else within arms reach.
What was also surprising was the extremely limited stock they had on hand for the heavily advertised deals everyone had shown up for. Out of the hundred or so people that were in line, only 15 walked away with what they came for. No, I was not one of the lucky 15. I’d wasted my morning and braved the Black Friday crowd for no reason.
After realizing I couldn’t get what I came for, I left and made a promise never to do that to myself again.
What We Do Instead
Black Friday was always described to me as a pleasant experience, but I beg to differ. I’m not a fan of large crowds or waking up early, so Black Friday will stay on my list of things to never try again.
More on This Holiday: Black Friday Myths That Will Drain Your Wallet
Over the years, we’ve learned that there are better methods for finding deals on our favorite products, such as:
- Paying attention to sales throughout the entire year helps us save the most money. We can compare prices and take our time to think about purchases, instead of making split-second decisions in the store.
- Avoiding shopping in the weeks leading up to Black Friday. Many products are marked up to make future discounts seem steeper. It’s just one of the ways retailers trick you into spending more money around the holidays.
- Buying quality items to maximize their lifetime use. In many cases, “doorbuster” deals are lower quality or outdated items. It doesn’t make sense to get things that are already outdated because you’ll need to replace them sooner.
- Waiting for Cyber Monday. If the itch to shop still hits us, we’d just wait for the following Monday to roll around. You can usually find better deals from the comfort of your own home.
When stores open for Black Friday this year, we plan to continue our tradition of staying at home. No traffic, no crowds, no wasted money and perhaps, most importantly, no early-morning wake-up calls.
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