For every person who loves Black Friday, there’s another that dislikes it equally as much. I’m of the latter camp. Shopping and everything that relates to “stuff” is my least favorite part of the Christmas season. I’ll take the lights, the music, the uncomplicated joy of the season well before Thanksgiving–much to my husband’s dismay–but shopping? If I could completely forego it, I would.
REI, one of my favorite stores to browse (it’s the halfway mark of a 30-mile bike ride my husband and I enjoy in permitting weather) closes all of its retail stores on Black Friday so their employees can have the day off to enjoy the outdoors, sharing experiences. Their initiative started the #OptOutside campaign and encouraged others to do the same.
I love this idea!
REI Chief Customer Officer Ben Steele said, “When we started this four years ago, it was that consumerism was spinning out of control, in a frenzy of consumption–I’ve got to have it, I need it, I’ll leave Thanksgiving dinner early to go get it.”
That’s a powerful statement. We spend Thanksgiving grateful for what we have and then get up early the following morning to go buy more.
“Black Friday: Because only in America people trample each other for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.” Author Unknown
Many stores have even intruded into Thanksgiving evening to get the shopping started, using messages with a sense of urgency to get people in:
- Limited Time!
- Today Only!
- Act Now!
- Final Close-Out!
- Offer Expires!
I’m not saying Black Friday is all bad. For some people, the sales are what allows them to purchase gifts for Christmas presents. And some people genuinely enjoy the shopping experience with family and friends. Though I have to admit I’m not one of those people. But what saddens me the most is when people go into debt buying “stuff” they don’t need or even want, simply because it’s on sale. When we buy what’s on sale because it’s “on sale,” we’re not saving money, we’re spending it. Too many times Black Friday leads to Red Saturday with people going into debt.
That being said, the Black Friday scrooge that I may be, sincerely wish everyone a Christmas season filled with family and friends, good health, peace, and experiences that bring you joy.