The day after Thanksgiving brings a simultaneous sigh of relief from homemakers and a deep breath of anticipation and more than a little anxiety from retail employees across the country.
Every year a seasonal fear returns, for the cook it’s that this will be the year everything will flop and instead of serving turkey we’ll contribute to one of the highest grossing revenue days of the pizza industry. For store owners and sales associates it’s a double-edged sword: owners hope they end the day and the year in the black and sales people hope the crowds aren’t too big and the people aren’t too crazy.
In a previous life I worked in a department store and can attest to the fact that many shoppers seem to pass through some sort of personality altering portal between the Wednesday before and the Friday after Thanksgiving. I don’t know if it’s the turkey, the promise of ‘never before seen deals,’ or the irritation that begins building when holiday music is pumped through the airwaves a solid six weeks before Christmas, but this time of year transforms many a normally polite human being into an ill-mannered beast.
Having personally experienced people growling in my face when I delivered the news that the hottest electronic item of the year is already sold out, I was determined to never venture out on the most dangerous day of the year, ‘Black Friday.’
The past two years have changed my tune. With a chauffeur (my dad) and a fashion forward, bargain savvy shopping guide (my mom) Black Friday is… dare I say it? It’s almost fun.
We slept in, enjoyed a wonderful brunch, and learned it is possible to squeeze four adult size people into the back seat of a car. My dad dropped us off at the front door of Macy’s and we quickly devised a divide and conquer shopping strategy. The boys went to shop for boy stuff and the girls giggled about the hideous new fashions and groaned about how difficult it is to find clothes that fit while we sifted through the bargains. Armed with smart phones we easily arranged meeting places and drop off zones.
Three hours and seven shopping bags later, I have to confess there’s a certain thrill associated with bags full of goodies, receipts with tallied up savings, and a brand new outfit that make braving the crowds worthwhile.
I’ll never be one of the people who wake up at 2 am for the greatest bargain at Best Buy (that’s what the internet is for) but I may have to eat my words and admit that I’ve joined the masses, and Black Friday is becoming a holiday tradition.