For the past few years, across mainstream and social media, BLACK FRIDAY has been portrayed as literally the opposite of Thanksgiving — a day of rudeness and unkindness that brings out the worst in humanity as hoards of grumpy people push and shove their way to a great deal. We’ve all seen the news reports of people trampling each other for an amazing price on a TV or laptop — hey, it makes for an exciting news story. Well. I’m here to dispel those Black Friday myths, as it can also be a great thing! Then you make the decision for yourself.
MYTH: Black Friday has turned into shopping on Thursday (Thanksgiving). Those poor employees…
I am in the hospitality industry, and I work on Thanksgiving. Most of the staff in food service, retail and hospitality will be working on Thanksgiving or at the very least, their employer will be open at some point on Thanksgiving and/or Black Friday. I knew that when I was hired. I cannot imagine that anyone in retail would just assume they would have any holiday off. Also, most employees working on Thanksgiving, especially in retail and hospitality, are earning holiday pay that could be as much as double time and a half, so certainly don’t feel sorry that I have to work on Turkey Day. I chose my profession for many reasons — one being that I have amazingly random days off. While everyone is back to work on Monday, I’m enjoying a day off from work.
MYTH: People push, shove and fight on Black Friday — I don’t want anything to do with that!
I’m sure that happens somewhere, but I’ve never seen it happen here. I have, however, seen people laughing and joking with each other while waiting in line. I’ve even had someone offer me their spot in line. I’ve held the door for people with their hands full. I’ve struck of conversations with complete strangers, and it has always been pleasant. I’ve seen generations of families from all walks of life, out shopping, just having a great time together. These truths aren’t as exciting as the pushing and shoving, so it will never be news. Another difference (I believe) has to do with being in the South. We are a hospitable bunch of shoppers, and we aren’t in layers of clothes, trekking through snow. I think that makes a big difference in your attitude.
MYTH: You’re a bad person for going shopping during a holiday that is all about family and togetherness.
No, you’re not. And no one should tell you what you should or shouldn’t be doing — that’s up to you! This blog post is to clear up a few Black Friday misconceptions; I’m not telling anyone to go or not go shopping. Heck, I would almost rather you not go so I can get a closer parking spot! I have met many a mom that loves Black Friday because they get all of their Christmas shopping done in one day, which gives them more time to spend with their family over the following holiday weeks. The beauty of our wonderful freedoms is that everyone can make the decisions that are right for them.
If you do decide to brave the friendly Black Friday crowds, here are a few of my time-tested tips:
REVIEW THE ADS IN ADVANCE. I cannot stress this enough. Know what you are going to buy and where it is located in the store. Walmart has perfected this in years’ past with downloadable PDF maps of each individual store as well as store maps on hand in the Walmart app, with deal locations clearly marked. You can also download Black Friday apps such as Brad’s Deals or Deal News.
DO NOT GRAB A SHOPPING CART. Shopping carts just slow you down. Bring the biggest reusable shopping bag(s) you own. I have a few IKEA bags that are perfect for this. If you are after a big item such as a TV, bring someone with you. — that person’s one job is to obtain the TV.
DO NOT SHOP IN A GROUP. There is no time for chit-chat at Black Friday sales. This is serious business. It is okay (and probably better) to shop with a buddy — especially if they are in charge of that TV. If you are with a friend, both of you change your smartphone ringers to that very annoying alarm sound. It is loud, obvious, and you are guaranteed to hear it over all the commotion.
DO NOT TAKE YOUR SMALL CHILDREN SHOPPING. If you can’t convince your hubby to watch them and/or you can only go if the kids are with you, then I recommend staying home and shopping online. I do not know one child that enjoys long lines and loads of people. (Think Disney World without the rides.) If you do venture out with little ones, I would recommend it be to somewhere less crowded, such as Michaels at 6 p.m.
DO NOT BRING YOUR HUSBAND. He will just try and talk you out of buying things. (Hey, you can always return it or sell it on Swip Swap!)