The Case for Skipping Black Friday

Why skipping big sales saves my sanity

Confession: I avoid Black Friday at all costs. Even the final cost at 60%.

Sure, I love a bargain and will hunt for coupons, deals and hoard friends and family discounts like they are my only child's college savings. But I have no interest in standing in lines in the dead of night just to get a few bucks off the hottest toy my kid will forget about two hours after opening it. I have no desire to bond with my loved ones while shivering in a sleeping bag before the doors open on a store I rarely step foot into the rest of the year. And I have a really, really low tolerance for long lines of pushy, loud-talking, check-writing, energy drink-buzzed people with kids who needed to be in bed six hours ago. 

I would much rather spend the day at the gym (seriously) or dipping into the leftovers (right?) or watching a Hugh Grant marathon on TV. My time to myself or with my son or even catching up on work or bills is worth far more than I would save scrambling for deals. 

My time is worth more than the discounts

When I think about what my time (and energy and sanity) is worth, it makes any shopping frenzy seem silly. At least to me. If you are only able to buy a new flat-screen because you hovered over the purchase button on Cyber WhateverDay, more power to you. For me, it just doesn't make sense. More than I need three bucks back or even 72% slashed down, I need a few hours of extra sleep, quiet and centering.

It gets grabby with my goodwill

That time, no matter how I fumble into it or plan it out, will serve me better as a longtail strategy, I reason, in staying in the spirit. I love to find the perfect gift for someone I adore. A squeal from a small child or gasp from a family member when they open a present I've chosen for them -- that stays with me all year round. I don't feel the spirit of the holidays when I'm with 500 other people cramming their carts full of dancing Elmos and cucumber-scented lotion sets. I don't feel that swell of emotion at 6 a.m. (or earlier). 

It strips me of my shopping super-powers

I also believe that opting out of Black Friday madness helps me to reserve energy for shopping on my own terms. I know there are people who get absolutely all of their shopping done in the wee hours of Friday morn. That's great for them. And it is great for me to pace myself and shop when the time fits my schedule, the energy fits my own and the money fits my budget. A little rest now could mean a power shopping stretch next week. Minus the pre-dawn wackadoodles.

It robs retails workers of a holiday

Skipping post-Thanksgiving sales is also my little protest. I really disagree with retailers who've extended Black Friday so far backward that their employees cannot celebrate Thanksgiving with their families. I don't want to support any big-box store that opens its doors to sale-shoppers on the holiday and I don't want to mingle with the people who've left a gathering to buy wrapping paper for half-off. Will subtracting the $231.89 that I might spend at Target matter in the consumer scheme of things? Of course not. But I feel better sending my thoughts the way of the workers than standing at their registers.

Should you choose to make a run for four of the top ten hottest toys of the season as soon as the last bit of pie is cleared from the buffet, then I wish you well. I won't like your Facebook status gloating about the good deals you got. But I will silently pray you get home in tact and without the scars of any parking-lot brawls or tug-of-war trampling over a weed whip for your husband who could care less. I won't be competing for the last Lego Batman set on the shelf and I won't clink to-go coffee mugs with you when it is all over. But I promise to nod politely when your tree is replete with wrapped packages on Saturday, knowing mine will go up (and under) a few hours before Christmas Eve. 

It's all good -- at least in my mind. In my calm, quiet, happily Hugh Grant-ed, peaceful-with-paying-slightly-more mind.

Do you avoid Black Friday? Or does it serve your peace of mind to get a bargain?

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