Why I'm Skipping Black Friday - picture of young girl with shopping bags and hand held out

5 Reasons I’m Skipping Black Friday This Year

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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?

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31 Comments

  1. We always skip Black Friday – our tradition is to put up all the Christmas decorations instead. I like that we have a tradition that emphasises family over shopping. Plus I’m with you – the so-called “black friday deals” just aren’t appealing. Every once in a while I’ll see something good, but most of the deals/bargains are for things I would never buy anyone for Christmas. Who are all these people getting TV’s and expensive electronics?

    I stick to shopping online only nowadays, it’s just so much easier than going to the store.

    1. Seriously! Who is buying people 50-inch flat-screen TVs for Christmas? I think we all know the answer to that question.

  2. Only downfall to shopping Black Friday deals on-line is they sell out faster than the stores and by the time you check out your items are out of stock.

  3. We’ve been skipping Black Friday more and more the last few years. My sister works at Menards, so we MIGHT check out their deals (not at the asscrack of dawn, though. I did get a $15 DVD player last year which was nice), but anymore, the deals aren’t worth it, and the crowds are treacherous. Twice, I’ve been plowed over by an old lady with a cart.

  4. We skip Black Friday too. We don’t get caught up in the hype. We plan and budget getting all of our shopping done on other days.

    1. Yes, that’s what we do. I might check out a few Cyber Monday deals at my leisure!

  5. Totally skipping the Black Friday madness too. The deceptive ads are amazing and they do the trick on most people. When I started reading more about how they would put out old stock as their “great deals” to get rid of things (TV’s, etc.) – it made even more sense. This is a great line too – “A celebration of faith has turned into the worship of materialism – a season of giving into a season of buying.” And it’s really hard if you have kids – because that is all they see. I have one who “gets it” and one who isn’t quite there yet… but we’ll keep working at it.

  6. Oh man, I avoid the craziness of Black Friday at all costs! My wife and I went several years ago. We arrived at WalMart at about 5am. Bad idea.

    I’ll save my money and stay in the comfort of my own home. If you really need a good deal, there are plenty on line you can get without going through the madness.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. I went to Walmart on Thanksgiving night once! It really was a sight to behold, and not in a good way. Never again. You couldn’t pay me enough.

  7. I don’t hate black Friday because I don’t participate. Like Liz, above, we usually do Christmas decorations that day. Most of my shopping is done online and I’m nearly finished now. I do enjoy watching the evening’s obligatory local news report of all the crazies out at the malls and congratulate myself for not participating in the lunacy.

  8. IT seems like things always go up when the government is keeping track of statistics. Could it be true or propaganda to help increase GDP revenue. Who knows, but I will probably go to target at 3pm after leftover thanksgiving lunch to see the long lines and then turn back around, HAHA.

  9. After years of being one of the many “drones” that fell for this hype, we now, stay cuddled up in bed as long as we want, make some coffee, open the laptop and buy the few things that the kids had on their lists, most of the time you can still score black Friday deals, from the comfort of your own bed. Later in the day, we will head out for some window shopping…..at the local antique malls. It is great to look at nostalgic items while you stroll down memory lane. During the holiday season, most dealers at antique malls have decorated their booths for the holidays, and most places pump in some sort of holiday music to help with the “festive” feel. So if you are looking for a non-black Friday outing, give it a try.

  10. I did Black Friday once while 9 months pregnant (mhm not smart) and I promised myself I would never do it again. To stand in line for hours only to find out that there is a limited supply of whatever you’re looking for is ri-damn-diculous, and I could not count how many times I had been pushed around. Tis the season to step over grandmas for that brand new flat screen!

  11. I’m so with you here – no Black Friday for me! I plan to sleep in, enjoy leftovers, and light a fire and enjoy a relaxing day.

  12. I was just thinking this morning: I don’t think I know anybody who’s ever gone out for BF deals. But… maybe all of my friends do it and they just don’t admit it (because they feel the same way you do).

  13. YESS!!! This is amazing. Perfectly said and goes right along with my “saying no to gifts” post I wrote last week!

  14. I only shop for Black Friday deals on my laptop and even then I check Slickdeals to make sure that it’s actually a good deal before purchasing it. Last year I was able to pick up a dirt cheap laptop the day before Thanksgiving, which I had been actively looking for, but haven’t seen anything that I’m super interested in this year. I guess we’ll see but bottom line I’m not waking up in the middle of the night to freeze for the chance to buy something. That’s not fun to me 🙂

  15. I can really understand you, I am that kind of woman that skp first day of sales because I hate Mass in the shops and most sales are excuse to sell old and antique things…so I study what there is in the shops and only if I need I go, usually on quiet people…in Italy I don’t know if we have something similar to black friday but if we have I’m glad to skip It!!!

  16. Yup, we definitely don’t know what we need. I always find myself wanting all kinds of things during a sale. I’ll think to myself, that’s on offer. It’s 40% cheaper now, might as well get it. Now, I’m learning to catch myself before i fall into this thinking.

  17. I’m with you on the “Time” reason. It just doesn’t make sense to stand in line all those hours, endure crappy weather for that “deal of a lifetime”, while in the real sense, you can probably get the same item at another time, at a fair price and at your own convenience. That time is better spent with family!

  18. One of the reasons why I don’t like to shop on Black Friday (really Black Thursday now with the stores opening earlier and earlier every year) is that I feel bad for those employees and workers that can’t spend time with their family and instead have to deal with the crazy crowd.

  19. You have so many good points here. I prefer online shopping over having to go out to the store. I once stood in a cold line to get a tablet a few years ago and said never again. Now, I may take advantage of a sale that seems worth it in my opinion but I’m not going to lose sleep over it or get caught standing in a long line again. Like you said, it’s not the best use of your time.

  20. I would much rather use my precious free time to spend with my family. Or watch Netflix!

  21. I didn’t buy anything during the Black Friday. There are other sales coming and I have to stick to my plans.

  22. I think I went shopping on Black Friday once in high school, to see the hype, and that was it for me. I hate that urgent feeling that, like you said, makes it hard to spend wisely.

  23. Good for you. Why contribute to the over-consumerism of America? I stayed at home and watched the Hallmark channel and listened to Lore podcast episodes. I had fun being cozy at home.

  24. My mother and aunt get up early almost every year to go to the sales. Never understood it and probably never will. Nice timing on the topic too!

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