Monday, November 23, 2015

My History with Black Friday and the Strategy for this Year

Is Black Friday a tradition in your home?  It is in mine.  Not one that we always keep to, but one that seems to always be on our minds around Thanksgiving – which is funny since Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for what we have, and Black Friday seems to be about acquiring more stuff.

I think over the past few years, Black Friday has gotten huge.  It now has a Cyber Monday, a Small Business Saturday, in fact, I have been getting e-mails and flyers in the mail about Black Friday deals that are running all of November.

 
When I was in college that was the first time Black Friday was big to me.  I heard that the Maine Mall was going to be opening at midnight.  It was completely unheard of at that time (I might be showing my age a bit here!).  Some of the stores would be open, and there would be amazing sales. 

We already had a tradition of going to LL Bean on Thanksgiving, to walk off most of the food we had eaten and make room for pie.  So going to the mall wasn’t that far off for us.

I convinced my brother and my mom to drive down to Portland at 11pm.  We got there, and there was a line already around the mall.  It was freezing.  We all had coffee (and at the time, only one of us actually drank coffee – my mom), and were ready to see what this Black Friday thing was all about.

Let me tell you, it was chaos!

We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  We walked around that morning, going to the stores that were open, making many trips to Starbucks, and just generally walking around.

It wasn’t about getting a good deal; it wasn’t about buying a bunch of stuff.  It actually was about my family spending time together, walking around in the craziness, laughing when we saw people running for displays.  Yes, we bought a few things, but it wasn’t the primary draw.  We wanted an adventure, and we got one!

As the years have gone on, we have seen our Black Friday change a bit.  The last time that we went out super early was when Emma was just six months old.  After that, there were more children added to the mix, and sleep became the priority, not getting out in the morning.

This year is the first year that I feel that pull to go back out in the craziness.  I’m not sure it will be at midnight, or even 8am, but I can definitely see myself getting out to people watch and see what kind of deals might be available.

One thing that hasn’t changed is my desire to get the paper on Thanksgiving morning.  I go to the little gas station near my house first thing in the morning to get the paper with all of those ads.  Often I don’t see anything of interest, but once in a while I will find something that I want to buy for someone.

What is my plan for this year?  Well, I will get the paper on Thanksgiving morning, I will sit down with my coffee after we get the turkey in the oven and look through the paper.  I will clip the coupons that are important to me – Michael’s, AC Moore, JoAnn Fabrics – and then I will enjoy my Thanksgiving meal!

I haven’t decided if I will go out, I haven’t decided if I want to drag my kids out for that.  More than likely, my husband will stay home with the kids, and I will make a few quick runs to the stores where I know I need to get some things, and then be home in time to start decorating our Christmas tree.

This obviously isn’t a real Black Friday strategy. 

My real Black Friday strategy is to soak up the extra time I have with my family all together.  To watch my niece and nephew play with my kids, to visit with my brother and sister-in-law, to play Christmas music and decorate our tree, and eat more Thanksgiving leftovers; that is my real strategy.  I’m not chasing a deal, or trying to find the hottest present this year.  I may find something I want to get, but I’m not going to be fighting anyone to get it.


What do you do on Black Friday?  Do you go out in the madness, or do you skip it?  

21 comments:

  1. A HUGE thank you for not going to the stores on Thanksgiving any more! Having worked retail and having a Mister that supports retail equipment, Thanksgiving is never as fun as it should be - my Mister is already sure he has to put in at least a half day on Thanksgiving, as things stand right now...it could get worse once the day gets closer.
    I've never done Black Friday shopping. The first year I heard of stores opening on Thanksgiving - a few years ago, at this point, which may or may not show how much I payed attention to such things prior, I was pleased as punch to see JCPenney saying they wouldn't open, and I figured if I was spending any money, that it would be there. Of course I didn't go, because I had to work a ten hour shift Black Friday, and was just ready to be home and done and away from so many people (and I worked a fairly small store!). I will be staying home and curled up somewhere in the house with some cocoa or tea and doing something more fun than being stuck in traffic and crowds xD

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  2. I'm with you, it's about spending time with the family! I used to go Black Friday shopping but as the years have rolled on, it's become less of a big deal. Last year, I got the paper and then simply silently akipped the madness. I feel like it's gotton a little crazy and the sales start earlier and earlier. I don't like the thought of people having to work on Thanksgiving, I wish everyone could be home to enjoy friends and family. That's my plan!

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  3. I've been oblivious to Black Fridays all my life :) I just always forget about it!

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  4. I went to Black Friday shopping once in my life and it was complete chaos, it actually stressed me out with how mean people were to me and each other. I think it brings out the worst in some people. So I avoid the stores like the plague. In fact, grocery shopping was all done today and that was stresfful enough with the crowds I had to deal with. I've got enough food to stay in my pajamas and hibernate with my kids for 4 days :) I may wear different PJ's every day :)

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  5. My cousins and I go every year and we try not to spend a lot of money. We just enjoy the time together and we have made so many wonderful memories. :)

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  6. I think you made a great point. While a lot of people think it's bad that workers are working on Thanksgiving, a lot of people use Black Friday as a bonding activity! Two sides to every coin!

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  7. I think Black Friday has gotten out of control. I feel so bad for retail workers who can't enjoy Thanksgiving with their families. I'm all for deals, but there is a limit. On Black Friday, I will be enjoying some fun activities with my nieces and nephew.

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  8. I do black friday EVERY year & can not remember when I didn't! lol I will ONLY start shopping when it actually IS friday though - thanksgiving day is for family time NIT shopping - stupid stores! lol

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  9. I have never gone black friday shopping and I'm not planning on doing it this year either. It's my tradition. ;-)

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  10. I think its lovely that you spend thanksgiving with your family instead of searching the racks for sales. That is what Thanksgiving is meant to be about.

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  11. When my kids were little I used to wake up at the crack of dawn to get the sales! Now with online sales I can just wake up and go on my computer!!! Plus my kids are teenagers now so no big fuss now!!!

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  12. I remember going Black Friday shopping with my parents when I was younger, when the thrill of waking up super early was still there. Now it's about rushing out after dinner to get the best deals.

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  13. Oh no, I don't join the madness. I've seen how the shoppers go crazy with all the sale. I would rather shop on Cyber Monday.

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  14. My sisters and I always shop on Black Friday, but I feel like it was more fun when the stores actually opened on Friday and not on Thursday. We still shop, but with a lot less chaos.

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  15. We love going shopping on black friday! It is so much fun to be together!

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  16. Great story and I love how you have an alternate purpose for your Black Friday! I've only gone out shopping and waiting in line and all that nonsense one time on Black Friday and it really wasn't worth it to me!

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  17. When we first came to live in the USA in 2001 we didn't know what black friday was. We got caught up in the craziness and decided to go shopping and soon realized it was insanity alive and well in our high street. We haven't been since. No need now with cyber monday. Often you can get almost the same deal without the crazy lines.

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  18. I never went Black Friday shopping until recently, and this year, I am passing! I bought some awesome stuff already on Amazon and am all stocked!

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  19. I find that the deals out there on Black Friday are few and far between. I just don't bother going. Also, Boxing Day sales aren't really sales either. I think it's just a big money grab for the retailers. I stay home and play Christmas music, and craft.

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  20. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one that values sleep over shopping. I love your strategy to spend time with family, that really is what it's all about and I'm glad you had those times when you can look back with fond memories on your Black Friday experiences.

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  21. I've never done the Black Friday shopping, it has always been my boyfriend. And as someone whose boyfriend had worked every day without a day off unless he wanted to pay someone, with a job as simple as delivering papers, I chuckle at hearing that the workers should be home. I know many of my friends who work retail who are so thankful for that money that they make to cover their bills and holiday gifts. To each their own.

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