With holiday decor and Santa in the mall right after Halloween, Gray Thursday, Cyber Monday, and all of the pre-Black Friday sales, this year’s holiday shopping season for me has lost its magic. So much so that I didn’t go out shopping last night nor do I have any special plans for doing any shopping today or the rest of the weekend. I felt like a broken record last night as I repeatedly told family members that I wasn’t going to go shopping that night nor was I planning to get up early the next day. Most were quite shocked at the pronouncement because this isn’t normal for me.
Somewhere along the timeline of my life I caught the shopping bug and the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas were magical to me mostly because of the extended shopping hours. For many years you would have seen me among the first of the shoppers as dawn broke on the morning after Thanksgiving. My first awareness of extended holiday shopping hours and mad crushes of deal seeking shoppers is from my late teens when I worked at a department store (thankfully I was one of the telephone operators so I didn’t have to deal with the crowds face to face). Skipping forward about 10 years, I can recall the craziness of venturing out into ‘the day after Thanksgiving’ shopping throngs with the guy I was dating at the time. All of this occurred before the term Black Friday came into popular use and before retailers began to push against that official/unofficial start of the holiday shopping season.
Perhaps like some of you, I was giddy with excitement several years ago when stores began to push their Black Friday opening times to 5am. A hot topic of conversation at Thanksgiving Dinner one year was about the planned midnight opening of a nearby outlet mall and wonderment at who would be crazy enough to start out shopping at that hour. And then there were the announcements of a few stores that would be opening late on Thanksgiving Day. Wow, what more could a ‘gal that loves shopping’ want than more time to shop? Of course there were protests by employees and predictions that retailers would see the folly in opening on Thanksgiving but more and more stores began to follow suit until nearly all stores were opening late on Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales were starting the weekend before.
Most business analysts say that the added before Black Friday hours have made no difference to the retailers’ bottom lines. I believe this to be true because in the last couple of years when I’ve been shopping during this time, the crowds have seemed smaller and there were very few special bargains that I couldn’t have gotten either before Thanksgiving or on-line. I don’t know if its an ‘older/wiser’ thing but I was pleasantly surprised by the announcements a few weeks ago of the retailers who wouldn’t be opening on Thanksgiving and then when more were added to the list. I even was hopeful that big retailers would do the same and we could all go back to the way it used to be.
Then I started to get really, really annoyed at all of the ads about limited time sales and bargains that are just hype and began to muse on the idea of not shopping on Black Friday. I didn’t arrive at this decision easily because, as a ‘gal that loves shopping’, I want to shop … a lot, and Black Friday is like the holy grail of shopping days (and you all know that there is a difference between shopping and buying, right?) Rationally I know that there are still many other days when I can do my holiday shopping (and buying) with less crowds and still get the same deals so I began to think about other things I could do on this day. I remembered that I am due for a pedicure, so I put that on my list, and I booked myself for a long needed massage. Being pampered is a good diversion from the shopping urge. I also plan to do some blogging (this post for one) and get caught up on some housekeeping and financial record keeping chores. If I happen to wander into a store or two, I’m good with that too. At least I didn’t plan a whole day around shopping.
I tried to think of a two word substitute catchphrase like Slack Friday or Crack Friday that embodies the notion of not succumbing to Black Friday hype but none seemed to really fit so I settled on Take Back Friday for a couple of reasons. One, I am taking the day back from the marketers and retailers to spend (pun intended) it in a way that best suits me and two, I have a few recent pre-Black Friday purchases that I have decided not to keep so I will be taking them back.
Will my absence in the local Black Friday scene make a difference for the retailers? Probably not, but a storm starts with one drop and who knows what might happen if enough people begin to recognize the hype and choose other pursuits for the day.
What do you think, can Take Back Friday become the new Black Friday?