Later this week, millions of people will embark on their annual Black Friday shopping trip. Crowds clutching newspaper flyers will gather outside cold storefronts. Angry moms will throw elbows over door-buster Trolls dolls. Fights will break out in Walmart stores across America, most of which will wind up on YouTube for our viewing pleasure. By the time late morning hits, stores will be trashed, new sales records will be hit, and Americans will be broke once again.
In the meantime, I’ll be warm and cozy in my bed. I *might* wake up early to watch the news or make my kids a special breakfast. After I ease into the morning, I’ll work for 7 or 8 hours just like I would on any other day.
5 Reasons I’m Skipping Black Friday
Yes, you read that right. I’m completely ignoring Black Friday once again, not only because I don’t like crowds, but because I believe it’s total bull$hit. Here are a few of the many reasons I think Black Friday is a load of crap.
The “hot deals” are misleading at best, and outright lies at worst.
A few years ago, I wanted to get my daughter a Kindle but balked at the $100 price tag. Lo and behold, I noticed Staples had the Kindle I wanted for just $49 on Black Friday. I got my ass up early enough to be the 10th person in line at Staples, waited for an hour, then prepared to enter the store. Unfortunately, I found they were sold out of the Kindle by the time I got in there. Why? Because they only had three to begin with!
Apparently, three people ahead of me got the $49 Kindles. So basically, Staples sent out a flyer to thousands of people in our area advertising a deal they didn’t really have.
Since then, I’ve learned this is fairly common practice. Sure, some stores “guarantee” certain deals will be in stock, but not all.
Black Friday creates a sense of urgency that causes us to spend more.
The hysteria surrounding Black Friday is enough to get totally reasonable people out of bed to go shopping at midnight. Have you ever asked yourself “why?”
The marketing geniuses that created this “holiday” were smart; that’s why. Somehow, they convinced us that Black Friday is a must-do if you want to save money on holiday gifts. Mostly, they’ve done it by offering “flash deals” and “door-buster” sales that make us think we’re getting something for nothing.
But make no mistake; you’re still spending money. And often times, the hype around Black Friday causes us to spend more than we planned. Black Friday is nothing more than an excuse to celebrate consumption, and they get us to spend more by creating a sense of urgency and convincing us we’re getting once-in-a-lifetime deals.
Black Friday is an excuse to buy stuff for yourself!
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average consumer will spend $935 on holiday gifts this year. The kicker is, some of those gifts actually have nothing to do with the holidays.
“Nearly six in 10 plan to buy for themselves, spending an average $139.61, up 4 percent from last year and marking the second-highest level of personal spending in the survey’s 13-year history,” writes the NRF. What this means is, we’re using Black Friday as an excuse to buy ourselves more stuff!
As a thirty-seven-year old woman, I can’t think of a single thing I need. I could literally walk all the way through Macy’s and not find a single thing I had to have. The fact that people are spending an average of $139 on themselves confirms what I already knew – that Black Friday is nothing more than an excuse to shop.
Getting out of bed in the middle of the night is crazy.
A tornado headed my way would probably get me out of bed and over to my neighbor’s basement at midnight. A sick kid gets me out of bed in the middle of the night a few times per year. I occasionally get up at 3:00 a.m. to be at the airport for an early flight.
The chances of me getting out of bed in the middle of the night to shop, however, are damn near zero. Seriously, I cannot believe this is a thing. The idea of grown adults setting their alarms for midnight to save $19 on pajama pants makes me want to laugh! I know some people think it’s fun, and I totally get that. I guess I value my sleep more than others.
Time is money.
The most important reason I’m skipping Black Friday is a simple one – time is money. Time spent waiting in ginormous lines is time you’re not working, sleeping, or relaxing. Time spent driving through parking lots waiting for a space to open up is time you’ll never see again. Time spent running to 25 stores to get the best price on everything is time better spent elsewhere. It’s like the guy who drives 20 minutes to save .10 on gas for his car. When you do the math, it doesn’t add up!
Just like last year, I plan to do the bulk of my shopping online. Sometime in the next few weeks, I will sit my ass in front of the computer and buy the stuff I need for the people on my list. I may not get the lowest price on everything, but I won’t waste my precious time fighting crowds or standing in lines.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, Black Friday is nothing more than a well-planned maneuver to get us to spend our money. By bombarding us with ads and sales and ahhhhh-mazing deals, they pry us out of bed and into their stores.
Blame it on the internet or technology if you want, but I blame us. Somewhere along the way, our generation lost track of the true reason for the holidays. A celebration of faith has turned into the worship of materialism – a season of giving into a season of buying.
And boy, do we pay. And not just in credit card interest, but in time, stress, and struggle. We spend months finding the perfect toy only for our kids to play with the box it came in. We camp outside for hours to save $20 on stuff nobody needs. Worse, we spend money we don’t have, leading to a cycle of debt that can last for years.
Just like last year, I’m choosing to ignore the entire thing. I may spend $20 more than I would otherwise, but I won’t have to fight ridiculous crowds or feel disappointed when my “hot deal” isn’t even in stock. Just like last year, it’s not even close to worth it.
Are you shopping on Black Friday this year? Why or why not?