Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Black Friday Cometh

Black Friday approaches.

It sounds so grim, doesn’t it? I feel it ought to be said in funereal tones with a somber bell tolling in the background. Around the corner comes a man pushing a wheelbarrow and staggering under the weight of its grim contents while he cries “bring out your dead!”

Enough of that.

Black Friday is the happiest day of the year for those in retail because it means their bank rolls will finally be “in the black.” The day after Thanksgiving is the biggest—and most stressful—shopping day of the year, and most people have their own unique way of observing/surviving it.

I’d like to hear yours. How do you observe Black Friday? Do you see the first rays of pale morning light through the slit of your tent outside the Best Buy? Do you rush through the aisles of Joanna’s Fabrics, pinking shears in hand, fending off frantic fellow crafters? Or do you roll out of bed around noon and munch on sandwiches made of leftover turkey and cold cranberry sauce while loftily considering the sad state of our materialistic society.

If you tell me yours, I’ll tell you mine.

Ever since I was eight years-old, my mother and I have hit the BYU Bookstore annual 20% off sale the day after Thanksgiving. The memories I have from these shopping trips are a stronger incentive to me than any discount could be. This is where mom always went for books and art supplies for the little crafting kits she used to make for us.

Christmas gifts I’ve received from these outings include my first (abridged) copy of Little Women as well as Ballet Stories and my favorite childhood book A Very Young Dancer. All of these treasured items are still on my bookshelf.

I made some of my earliest purchases here too. I couldn’t have been more than 8 or 9 when I bought my mom a cheap blue plaque with a puppy on it, wagging its tail, with the inscription “I can't make ends meet without your end.” Don’t ask. I’m don’t know either. I just liked the puppy dog, and I was sure my mother would love it. Apparently she did because it’s still on her wall in a corner of the room.

My brother and I used to be dazzled by the array of chocolate and candy the bookstore always stocked this time of year. I still am. When I was 10 or so, they had chocolate computers! Yes! Little Texas Instrument-type computers (about the size of a calculator) entirely made out of chocolate! I knew that this was the perfect gift for my father. When I was 14, I bought my Dad a mug with the slogan “How ‘Bout Them Cougars/Football Champs.”

I am planning to go again this year. My mom and I will troll the tables of books, peruse racks of calendars, and size up the sweaters. We’ll stock up on chocolates and toffee for friends and neighbors, and I’ll get my favorite lebkuchen cookies from Germany.

What will you do this Friday? Leave a comment and tell me about your traditions (or air your views on the degeneracy of a society that tramples for toys). And next week, I’ll post some of the most unique ones on my blog.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hunting.


  1. I do nothing. It's my favorite thing to do!

  2. Since I hate shopping, I will not frequent any retail stores on Black Friday. Walmart handed me their BF ad today and I felt a wave of nausea when I perused the flyer. LCD TVs, microwaves, blue tooths, touch I-pods, all on sale. I will fight for my freedom, the right man, the underprivileged, but will not risk life and limb to fight for a piece of plastic and metal. Those of you who plan to get up early Friday, have a blast!

  3. Have participated in all aspects of Black Friday at some point or another. All except the tradition which strangely allows one to chop a tree from the forest in order to decorate for the holidays. Too cold this year.

  4. Such a good post! I haven't gotten entrenched in any one tradition, but I like yours. Can I keep it? (Especially if it comes with chocolate calculators--the only kind I would want to buy!)

  5. I'm relatively new to Black Friday. We went one year and loved loading up on toys for the little one. The next year my hubby did the early a.m. thing. It totally wasn't worth it. This year I think we'll just do some online stuff and stay out of the sub zero cold they're offering up in my locale. I like yours much better. Maybe I can hop on a plane and come see you!

  6. Christopher and I do love the BYU Bookstore, so we may make it there before Christmas. But as for Black Friday? Two words: online shopping.