This is probably an unpopular opinion. Oh well.
I went with a friend, one time, to a Black Friday sale. She was going to buy a toy from a national chain. It was 3am when she picked me up. I went out of curiosity, because I'd never done anything like that.
There were lots and lots of people. It was cold, and we waited in line for an hour, before being admitted into the mall. She went her way, and I stumbled around in exhaustion for an hour, while she waited to be let into the store to get the toy on sale.
I found myself surrounded by people screaming and grabbing things, throwing them into carts. I watch two women argue over a shirt they both saw at the same time. There was no coffee to be found, which was another crime, really. I didn't buy anything. At that early hour, my bullshit detector was very strong. I recognized that many of the things "on sale" had been much cheaper in late summer. I staggered around until my friend appeared, sweaty and triumphant with her purchase. I never found out if the kid liked it or not. She dropped me off at home, after exclaiming in surprise that I had bought nothing. I went back to bed.
I don't write this to discuss superiority about shopping or purchasing goods. Frankly, I have terrible buying habits. I am very distracted in Starbucks with all the cups and coffee goods. (Good job, Starbucks, on those displays!) I buy shoes I never wear, though not nearly as much as I used to. I have to have a list while shopping at the grocery store, because otherwise, I put weird, attractive things in the basket at the supermarket, things I never eat. This is not a post about self control, of which I have very little. Nor is it a post where I humble-brag about my imagined goodness during the holiday season. I always overbuy during the holidays and get carried away with stocking stuffers, which often end up in a drawer.
But ... I don't shop on the Friday after Thanksgiving. For one thing, it makes me hate people. I like to avoid that feeling, if at all possible. The people I saw that day, and the ones I see on television, they are running, screaming, this crazed look in their eyes ... all for ... a television or a toaster. Is it that big a deal to get a toaster? People have died in the effort to "get a deal." That's ridiculous. People get in fist fights over a pair of shoes or an xbox. That's embarrassing.
I hate the commercialism also. I confess it.
Capitalism, unchecked, is a terrible thing, honestly, and I wish we could admit that more often. Capitalism is not a perfect system; it needs limits like everything else. The market DOES NOT correct itself all the time. And so on. When it becomes our duty as citizens to buy things, maybe we need to re-evaluate a bit.
I do understand that people in poverty may feel that this is their only chance, but to those who say that, click on the link below, about that "getting a deal" business. Make sure it's really the deal you think it is. Black Friday does not always give you the best deals. There it is. They want you in there to buy stuff, not to get the best deals. Please be aware that, once you are there, they are hoping you buy everything in sight, without consideration.
Additionally, the push to start selling on Thursday is a gross thing, in my opinion. What the heck. People deserve to get a holiday. I get that some places are open no matter what, even on Thanksgiving, but every little bit helps.
So, I oppose shopping on those days. I know it isn't an entirely popular opinion. Just as I don't shop at certain stores for various reasons, I recognize that everyone is not me. Do as you like. But, remember you may not save any money, and the person helping you isn't with his or her family. So be kind to that person.
But, and yes, it is corny, what the hell, instead of shopping, you could, you know, spend time with your family. Go for a hike. Rest. I know shopping is, by many, considered part of our duty as Americans to spend, spend, spend. I'd like to call for a cultural shift to something else. A vacation from the market. No, I am not a communist.
Anyway, that's what I think, and you may think differently. That's fine.
Enjoy your turkey, vegetarian, or vegan meal. Have a happy holiday.
Next up! Enjoy the war on Christmas!
Edited to add: Some of you are hitting the Wall Street Journal's pay wall, which is weird, since I didn't and I don't subscribe to them either. For you, I will add this link to Lifehacker. It's a good article about the best time of year for real sales:
The article cautions you that Black Friday sales aren't always real, so be sure to check it carefully.