November 2013

Black Friday:’ Tis the season!

Author: Courtney Hampson

Waterboarding, starvation, bamboo shoots under your finger nails, sensory deprivation, Dr. Phil, ex-wives, Black Friday… all methods of torture in one form or another. ’Tis the season to be pushed to the ground at Best Buy so you can get your still turkey-greased hands on the new Xbox game and make your munchkins smile on Christmas morning.

Listen, I am all about ’tising (yes, that is a word) the season. I’ve been accused on more than one occasion of Swiffering beneath my Thanksgiving guests’ feet before they even finish their last crumb of pumpkin pie because I am already mentally prepping for what tomorrow brings. Deck the halls.

Black Friday: a media-driven-scheme that immediately applies pressure for the perfect holiday. Your breathing gets shallow, the muscles in your neck tighten, and that eye-twitch-thing starts happening. You knew it was coming, but you were unprepared. With a focus on prepping the perfect bird, you couldn’t set your sights on Christmas just yet. But here it is; the season starts tomorrow, and you are already behind.

Back in the day, it wasn’t until Santa rounded the corner in front of Macy’s that it was game on. Today, Hobby Lobby, Home Depot, and Target have started sprinkling in Christmas balls just across the aisle from the witches’ brew. Too soon. Too soon! I can’t handle the pressure. I can’t plan three holidays all at the same time. What’s the point of ’tising the season if the season lasts half the year? And, my neighbors… well, they need time to switch out the hanging plastic bag pumpkins, for the big turkey wreath and then finally the icicle lights. We can’t be sending mixed messages here people.

Why, when we can shop online to our hearts’ content, would anyone sacrifice themselves to the midnight sales, long lines, and Black Friday experience? Same reason we brush our teeth before we go to bed: we are conditioned to do so.

Christmas is supposed to be about the celebration of Christ’s birth (I know, ironic coming from this heathen), when in fact it becomes the prime season for watching real housewives go toe-to-toe at Walmart, wrestling each other to the ground for a $5 Easy Bake Oven that, let’s face it, their son is not going to appreciate.

Habit and good advertising get me out of the house each year on Black Friday. And I do it for the same reason I shop on December 23 each year, even though I’ve nabbed every item on my holiday hit list. It’s the thrill of the chase; it’s the excitement of that fabulous find, and perhaps, the justification that (media-imposed) procrastination can put an exclamation on the seasonal celebration.

Myth: many believe that Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year. Actually weekend days before Christmas are busier, shopping days.

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