I’m dreaming of an inexpensive Christmas

Lindsay Carey [2014] Web

By LINDSAY CAREY
STAFF WRITER

I found the greatest deal this Black Friday—100 percent savings!
I know what you’re thinking, “Which store was giving away something for free” and, “How did I miss that deal?”
That’s your holiday brain talking.
To really understand how I mastered Black Friday this year, I think it’s best I share my tales of Black Fridays past. My first experience Black Friday shopping was when my sister and I were in high school. We begged our mom to take us out shopping. After being harassed all Thanksgiving Day, she reluctantly obliged.
There was a time, which many of you may remember, when Black Friday shopping began at midnight and not 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving like it does now. We planned to go to sleep for a couple of hours before heading out to the stores. That was our first mistake.
I guess any experienced Black Friday shopper would know you have to stay up. Drink some coffee and suck it up, because there’s no point in sleeping when the stores are opening in a matter of hours and the lines are already forming. If you snooze, you lose when it comes to Black Friday.
Not quite understanding the mayhem, the three of us overslept and missed most of the doorbuster sales. At 4 a.m., we finally made our way to the mall and drove around for another 30 minutes trying to find parking outside of Macys.
By the time we made it inside, you would think they were giving away things for free by the way people were acting. It seemed that outside of every store there were lines of tired and irritable Christmas shoppers. We saw entire families in line in their pajamas just waiting to get inside a store.
One thing we didn’t know about Black Friday is that you better be ready to be on the defense. People are willing to push you to get ahead and maybe even tackle you for their size in a sweater. I mean Black Friday is legitimately dangerous. It’s best to have some back up to be safe.
We’ve all seen the news coverage on television: “Black Friday Tragedy: Woman trampled at Walmart” or “Mother held at gunpoint for new Xbox.”
Black Friday is a lot like the movie “The Purge”, in which madness ensues when all crime is permitted for one day out of the year.
The lengths some people will go to for a bigger television or a bra for 50 percent off is absolutely ridiculous. Whether you received flyers in the mail from department stores with Black Friday sales or your email was clogged up like mine with messages from every store you’ve ever shopped at, it’s impossible to ignore Black Friday.
It can be overwhelming when you start to look at how much things are marked down, so much so that you feel obligated to shop because you don’t want to miss out.
However after some bad experiences, I saved 100 percent of my money by not shopping at all on Black Friday. Instead of hitting the mall or Best Buy, I stayed in. I was proud of myself for resisting the urge to go out and spend like crazy this year.
Personally, the more deals I get, the more money I end up spending. This year, I sat down to think of what I really needed during Thanksgiving weekend. I was all out of hair conditioner and I also needed to get a present for a baby shower. Those were the only things I bought during the Thanksgiving weekend and my bank account let out a sigh of relief.
Now, I’m going to be making a list of all the gifts I need to buy and I’ll be checking it twice.
For everyone else with a shopping problem, I suggest you do the same. I hate to be a Grinch, but you need to ask yourself if you actually need whatever you are buying before you get in line.
Some people can’t afford to pay their heating bill this month or buy groceries, let alone buy their kids a gift for the holiday. It’s easy to get caught up in shopping in December, but just think of those people when you’re shopping.
It works for me and keeps me grateful for everything I do have and if you’re really into giving be sure to carve a little out of your budget this month to donate to your local food pantry or other organizations that help families in need. You’ll thank me later.
Lindsay Carey is a reporter for The Observer.

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