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The day after Thanksgiving is known in America as Black Friday. It's the biggest shopping day of the year. Today I received a Black Friday ad from Walmart in an e-mail. There are a bunch of good deals and sales in this ad but the first thing that stood out to me was the time: this year Walmart kicks off their sales at 8pm!!
When I just came to the country, my SIL told me about "the biggest sale of the year". That November was my first experience of sorts. I don't even remember what I bought ( I'm almost positive there was a pair of fuzzy socks on that list...) but I do remember feeling overwhelmed by crowds, noises and things flying in the air. I've never seen any signs of physical violence but I did see people fighting over $5 DVDs (Really?...)
That time most of the stores opened at around 5 am. And I think it was OK. Since then I've tried to chase some Black Friday deals. I understand the temptations of Black Friday. Some of the deals are hard to beat. So many things on people's Santa's lists go on sale. Last year Hubby and I tried to get a trampoline for our kids that was about $100 less then their usual price (it's on sale again this year in case you are interested). We didn't get it but the price was too good to not even try.
But is it really worth it?
There are a few things that really make me wonder. This year, I think, it's mostly about timing. Our family starts Thanksgiving dinner at around 4-5 pm. We eat all the delicious classic food of the day but even more we all enjoy good conversation together. My husband has a very friendly family, and we can hang out for hours. But with all the sales starting earlier and earlier every year, it almost feels like the family time will soon be replaced by consumerism. I'm scared to think how early Wally will open it's doors next year - noon?? Even more, I feel sorry for all the workers that are forced to work so early instead of staying at home with their loved ones.
Second is overspending. Some people are really good with their money. I like to think of myself as one of them too, but quite a few times I've bought things because they were on sale and not because we really needed them. It's easy to get under the influence of others, especially with the feeling of urge that retailers are trying to convey on us.
Another thing that we need to keep in mind that very often retailers put things on sale that they can't sell otherwise. Among all the nice deals there tons of things that only seem to be a steal but in reality a lower quality product. You really need to be careful with what you spend your hard earned money on.
The combination of deals and adrenaline boost can be really contagious but over the years I wonder more and more if it's worth it and where my priorities really are. What do you think? Do you do Black Friday? Why yes or why no?