Black Friday: You’ve Gone Too Far

I used to joke about how Thanksgiving would soon be known as Black Friday’s Eve. Not because I abhor those people, but because I am those people. I’m creating the demand that necessitates supply. I’m a cog in the wheel which forces cashiers to miss Thanksgiving feasts. It’s all on me. Cast your stones.

Personally, I’ve got a connection with Black Friday. I was born on Black Friday. Yes, I seemingly was born to shop.

I’ve Black Fridayed for 13 of the last 14 years, in nine cities, in six states. (And, yes, it took me 14 years to courage-up and enter a Wal-mart.)

I’ve waited an hour outside a Toys “R” Us in pitch-dark, 28 degree weather, four months pregnant. I’ve sustained wardrobe casualties from careless hangers and cracked carts.

I’ve made friends.

I’ve shopped 15 hours straight while eight-and-a-half months pregnant. I’ve done Black Friday with the flu. (In my defense, the full-on symptoms came while unloading my haul.) I’ve waited in epic lines wrapped around entire stores. I’ve come out so far ahead that retailers basically paid me to take product out of the store.

Sure, I’ve bought into the hype. But, I’ve also enjoyed the shared tradition with people I love (hi, Mom!). I’ve bagged some good Black Friday war stories and participated in waiting-in-line comradery.

Ok, and I love a good deal.

Like, a really good deal. Why pay full-price if the same thing could be bought for less elsewhere or elsewhen. Oh, and I also like the donuts. No Black-Friday is complete without donuts.

Black Friday has always made sense to me.

On Friday.

The Name’s Friday, Black Friday

Black Friday had its spot, wedged snugly between the-Thursday-no-retailer-remembers and the other 25+ days of Christmas. Sure, there is irony in a deal-grabbing day following our gratitude festivities (as if the irony wasn’t thick enough with our more-than-we-need feasts!).

But irony aside, BF situated itself nicely on a day many have off, a day non-shoppers are generally glued to the gridiron and a day many look toward Christmas trees, stuffing stockings and wish lists.

BF was in its sweet spot.

But, Black Friday has been creeping into Thursday. Never mind Cyber Monday, which starts long before and extends well-past “Monday.”

But, alas, shopping holidays aren’t the only ones wandering out of their territory.

A Smattering of Out-of-Bounds Things

  • Take the Dollar Spot at Target. Neither a dollar nor a spot. Discuss.  What once was a safe haven for moms of beggy children has become a secondary, more-overpriced toy aisle. “Sure, Mom, I’ll choose the $1 ugly option when I can see the deluxe $3 and premier $5 version at eye-level?” said no kid ever.
  • Board games turned into Internet games inspiring subsequent board games. How is the Draw Something board game not just Pictionary? And what is the Words with Friends board game other than Scrabble? Jane! Get me off this crazy thing!
  • Gas stations selling produce.
  • Phones that are also cameras and clocks and newspapers and reference books and Rolodexes and notepads and atlases and boomboxes and photo albums…oh waitno, this is a good one. Out-of-bounds ruling overturned. 
  • Toy-packaging advertising Please, for the love of moms, stop showing my kids what they didn’t get at the very moment they get what they got. The call to collect-all is like nails on a chalkboard to mommy-types.
  • Christmas – wait your turn! I know you get antsy as the final tootsie roll drops in the last plastic pumpkin. I personally love you more than any of the others, but you’ve got a whole month waiting for you. Hold the door, like a gentleman, and let Thanksgiving into the party. [I wandered Target on November 16 to find not so much as a turkey or something brown anywhere except an end-cap. An end-cap, people! In “Seasonal,” the stockings have been hung since November One, pushing cornucopias right out of the conversation.]

Where Am I and How Did I Get Here?

When something leaks out of its container, it’s either due to lack of patience or lack of boundaries.

It’s tempting to move in on someone else’s space.
It’s enticing to jump at opportunities to make more of ourselves or to make more for ourselves.
Other folks’ deals often seem better than ours.
Trying to do-it-all is the oft-anthem of a maxed-out momma.

But, if we can learn one thing from Black Friday, it’s this:

Wait for your time, do your thing and don’t go overboard.

Don’t creep up on someone else’s turf. Don’t make a mad dash. And certainly don’t do your thing like it’s going out of style. Find your sweet spot and be there.

  • Mom the best way you know how. Don’t expect others to be you and don’t expect yourself to be them. Learn from other moms, but don’t try to be them. Take to heart Oscar Wilde’s line: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Like it’s your job. (‘Cuz it is.)
  • Practice the patience you so desperately want displayed in your kids. As Brene Brown promotes, more important than our parenting methods and what we explicitly teach our kiddos is being the person we want them to become. Woah. Dang. Mic drop.
  • Ditch the guilt at the door. Your Pinterest-envy is no good here. If it’s “you,” go for it. If it’s not, forgetaboutit. No really, 
  • Don’t get ahead of yourself. If it’s yours for the taking, it will be ready when you are.
  • Don’t eat gas station produce. Just…just…don’t.

As far as you, Black Friday? I think you are a bit lost. Let me notify your keeper that we’ve found you and while you’re disoriented, you’re going to be okay.

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