Over break I had the honor of going shopping on Black Friday.
It was the first time I had actually braved a mall on this day that is infamous for cutthroat bargain hunters and overall general mayhem.
Personal circumstances required my participation.
As our car rounded the top of the hill, I couldn’t help but stare. Cars leaving the parking lot were backed up nearly a quarter mile. Every parking space seemed to be taken; people had shunned the actual lot and were simply parking on grass.
Despite the numerous sales, I didn’t really find the experience to be particularly productive.
The mall was so crowded and noisy that you couldn’t hear yourself think. People were constantly jostling for different sizes, colors and dressing rooms, and a wait in the check-out line could stretch upwards of 20 minutes.
A news story on NPR earlier last week advanced the opinion that Black Friday tends to only be helpful if one is purchasing particularly large or expensive merchandise.
For the rest of us, prices comparable to those offered on Black Friday can be had throughout the season.
From a purely economic standpoint, it makes no sense that so many shoppers turn out on one day.
I think it’s sad that for many people, this is the extent of Christmas. In order to procure one specific model or buy the greatest amount for the lowest cost, people endure fighting time, finances and crowds.
Gift-giving is a welcome and much anticipated aspect of the holidays, yet it becomes a problem when given highest importance.
The following day, with a list in hand, I again ventured out to brave the shopping centers. Terrific sales were still being offered, yet the crowds were infinitesimal compared to the previous day.
In two hours, I had completed all of my Christmas shopping with much less stress involved. I was able to really consider what I was purchasing and make selections that actually reflected the person they were intended for.
It felt more like a Christmas worth celebrating than Black Friday ever does.