Black Friday used to be a noble tradition.
You would scour the circulars leading up to Thanksgiving so you had a game plan. Play the odds and plan a route. Forget Risk (which I never played); Black Friday could be its very own strategic board game.
Getting out the door by 4am was a challenge. You had to really want it. Because, sure, the easy option would be to sleep off Thanksgiving dinner, but if you wanted to be a hero, you got your butt up early and were back in time for brunch.
(And maybe you left your bags in the car so your dad wouldn’t see exactly how much money you’d actually saved by buying so much on sale.)
Regardless, these were the rules of engagement.
And now the rules have changed.
It’s like a whole new world out there. I thought it was crazy two years ago, when stores opened at midnight. Only a couple hours to digest all that turkey? And what about all the wine that’s still in my system? Now we need to plan a DD for Black Friday?
I didn’t love it, but I did it.
This year? I refuse to participate.
Black Friday now officially starts on Thursday – on Thanksgiving, with several stores opening at 10pm. It’s too much.
There’s a piece in the LA Times that quotes a retail industry analyst: “Retailers recognize the importance of being convenient, and one of those conveniences is opening earlier so people don’t have to wait in line at 4 in the morning in the cold.”
Here’s some advice: don’t be a baby. And bring some gloves.
The waiting, the freezing, the pushing, the getting separated from your mother and lost in Circuit City surrounded by crazy people just so you can get your brother a flash drive that he never uses – that’s all part of the Black Friday charm. It’s part of the challenge, part of the thrill.
And so, in protest (that I’m so sure will be noticed), I’ll sit this one out. It was a good run. Black Friday has been good to me. And it’s been a hell of a bonding time with Mama.
But I refuse to play by these new rules.
Thanks a lot, Wal-Mart.*
*And everyone else who changed the game.