Monday, November 25, 2013

What the H*ll Happened to Black Friday?

Holiday shopping isn't what it used to be.  I remember my parents getting a babysitter and heading to Bradlees (do these stores even exist anymore?) for their all night sale on toys and gadgets.

Just a few years ago I was getting up on Friday morning after Thanksgiving at 3am to hit up all the sales at Kohls, Target and Barnes and Noble.  I went to bed early Thursday with a tummy full of turkey and woke up in the dark of night on Friday morning to grab all my "must haves" at great prices.

Sadly, the world has gone mad.  When I was at Best Buy this weekend the cashier informed us they were opening at 5pm on Thanksgiving.  5pm!  I remember being disgusted a few years ago when stores were opening at 10pm.  And then it was 8pm.  And now, 5pm.

I am a HUGE Black Friday shopper.  I love it.  With four kids, I need the good prices.  I also love the idea of waking up and having absolutely every reason to go shopping and have fun. I get coffee, listen to music and spend, spend, spend.

I'm a mom of four, its therapeutic, trust me.

I'm thinking it's about time there is a law passed that no one can open on Thanksgiving.  Growing up in New Jersey there were Blue Laws, no stores opened on Sunday.  All year long.  How is it that not one state has thought to pass a law giving retail workers back their holiday?  Workers and shoppers would breathe a HUGE sigh of relief.  It would be called, "YES, I can be home on Thursday and deal with the madness Friday..."  I'll be the first to inform anyone who doesn't know that if you work retail, you are most definitely required to work Black Friday.

Pick your shift, you have to be there.  And now this means you'll have to work Thanksgiving one day because the world is going mad.

I know there are some people who don't mind the extra pay, and they don't mind working the hours because maybe they don't have a huge holiday planned.

Then they can be the ones opening the registers at 11:59pm on Thursday. 

Give everyone working retail (managers and all) back Thanksgiving, and give Black Friday shoppers the ability to get up ON FRIDAY.  The past few years I've shopped Black Friday at 6am and the stores are empty.  By 8am?  Everyone else has already gone home to sleep.

And truthfully, many of the deals are picked through. 

I'm feeling my time honored tradition of turkey on Thursday and shopping on Friday slipping through the cracks.  Trust me I'm still shopping, but it won't be Thursday afternoon into Friday.  It will be (mostly) on Friday.  I have to admit that this year, I'm going  to one store Thursday night to score a HUGE item my daughter wants for Christmas.

It's awful, and if there wasn't such a great deal on it I would stay the heck home.  I don't have the money to spend on big ticket items (x4), so I do what I can to make Christmas wishes possible.  It angers me I'm being forced from my traditional Black Friday routine into a Thursday night line outside Target.  Which, for the record, I would rather be doing ON FRIDAY.  I think the rest of America feels the same.  Stop offering the best deals on Thanksgiving.

And for everyone with the stance of  "if no one shops on Thanksgiving the stores won't open" I completely agree.  Unfortunately, society won't force that to happen.  If the stores open, and offer phenomenal deals, people will go.  Which forces me out of my jammies into line IF there is something I need at a deal I can afford.  Ugh and ugh.

Save the horrible comments, I know it's awful to shop on Thanksgiving.  I just won't lie to any of my readers because I'm a mom, I'm human and I do what I can for my kids when I can do it.  My munchkins get "big items" twice a year, birthday and Christmas.  It takes the pressure off the rest of the year but the pressure is on right about now.

Maybe one day I will tire of the madness, because there will never be a day I shop all day on Thanksgiving.  The only reason the store is getting me this year is because my turkey will already be digesting.

At least there will always be pajama shopping.
Tis' the season.

Along with Black Friday deals, here are a few more tricks to my Christmas shopping trade....

1.  Start shopping early.  I emphasize early.  This means before Thanksgiving.  You'll be thanking me when you have the expensive purchases set aside by December.  Money seems to fly out of the wallet after Thanksgiving.

Even better?  You have time to shop around and find the best price.  If the price drops you can get a price adjustment or return and re-buy.

2.  Use your smartphone.  Make lists and download shopping apps for your favorite stores.  I downloaded Target Cartwheel two months ago and I've saved over $70.00 already.  Saving 5% on a bag of apples adds up when you buy 20 bags of apples.

3.  To take the edge off big ticket items, trade in older gadgets on sites such as Gazelle.  You won't get a ton of money, but every little bit helps.  And if you have gadgets laying around unused, trade them in for some cash.

4.  Stick to a budget.  Use cash only, or set money aside to pay the credit card.  Avoid impulse buys and gag gifts.  Gag gifts may seem fun, but once the laugh is over the item most likely won't get any use.  This equals money wasted in the long run, and I hate money wasted.

5.  Remember the season is about giving.  Keep things in perspective.  If you are spending on a special high tech gadget, save on other gifts by going the homemade route. 

Happy shopping! 

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