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Shopping Is Fun; Black Friday Is Not!
Shopping is Good ;-)
Some people shop because they have to and others shop because they actually enjoy it, well I am the latter of the two. My current boyfriend is the kind of guy, like many others, that gets anxious is a crowded store and is bored at the mall. I can navigate a cart through the grocery store like nobody’s business. I don’t get mad when its shoulder to shoulder consumer traffic and I almost always apologize when someone else rolls over my toes with their cart. I occasionally knock down the cardboard displays or drop something off a shelf, but I look around to see how many people witnessed my shopper faux-pas and unlike most embarrassed people I smile with a look of “that was kind of funny huh”? Unlike most men, I don’t necessarily time myself when I’m in a store; I’m not on some undercover, covert mission that requires a Blitzkrieg attack. If I am not pressed for time, I don’t even pay attention to it. For me, shopping is something of a therapy. I’m not at home cooking for the family, taking care of the children or fetching for the man. I don’t even necessarily have to buy anything, looking is just fine with me.
Ooh a Sale
I can’t resist a sale, I feel like I’m somehow “beating the system” when I pay less for an item than it’s worth. Every day is a sale; I can go into just about any store on any day and find something on sale. When I first starting earning money in my teens through babysitting, I would go right out and spend a ridiculous amount of money on one outfit. It would be nothing for me to spend $50 on a pair of jeans, and I’m talking about in the 90’s. Now, for $50 I better be walking away with at least 3 pairs. I found that I could buy a lot more clothes for the same amount of money and increasing quantity doesn’t have to mean sacrificing quality. I like to think of myself as somewhat fashion forward, but to a certain extent, I let sales and discounted items influence my style. I don’t dress the same every day; I might be sporty yesterday, flirty today and business savvy tomorrow. What says we have to look the same every day? I still don’t compromise my tastes; I may take one item that I bought for next to nothing that I wouldn’t have otherwise bought had it not been on sale and pair it with other items that I already have.
Being a woman and having a love for shopping could be a potentially dangerous situation in a relationship with the wrong person, but again, one must think smarter, not harder. My current boyfriend has a strong dis-like of shopping and could care less about fashion. He just “wears clothes”. We certainly don’t have an infinite bank account and because our financial supply isn’t unlimited, my shopping is not looked at as a necessity. My shopping hasn’t put me in debt; not paying the bills has (just kidding). Anyway, being a woman, I have the infamous “secret stash”. You ladies know what I’m talking about, that undisclosed amount of unaccounted for money that is tucked into some secret compartment somewhere in our purse that only we know about? I have more than one secret spot and it’s not all about lying or shopping. My boyfriend may not be interested in shopping, but he likes to spend money until there isn’t any and I like to know that I have a little in case of an emergency. Now, fortunately, I am not often forced to use my secret stash money for emergencies and once it starts to build up I feel free to dip into it. This is when I will take advantage of the $7 jeans or the $2.99 shirt.
Like My New Outfit?
Because my boyfriend is a man and not particularly attentive nor does he pay attention to detail, I can sport new articles of clothing and he is none the wiser. So I spent money that he didn’t know existed and bought something he didn’t know I bought. Hey, I shouldn’t be blamed because he doesn’t pay attention. I am quite aware of the money that is floating in and out and would generally be able to notice something missing and I certainly would notice if he were wearing something new. Quite frankly, it was only by mistake that I realized he pays no attention. Early in the relationship I would run out and buy a “hot outfit” in an attempt to get his attention and maybe a compliment, but I realized he never really seemed to noticed, which actually kind of hurt my feelings, so now I just fill that void with more shopping.
Black Friday Hassle
Back to the main point; Black Friday, is it worth it? I was a few years into adulthood and well into my committed relationship with shopping before I ever even considered participating in this “special day event”. I had remembered hearing my parents refer to the day when I was growing up but my family was not at all into shopping and so we never participated. My ex-sister-in-law however, is a huge sale lady. She is the type of person that will pick items up on clearance all the time and stores them in her basement as her stock of gifts for later events. I actually found my son invited to a birthday party at the last minute a few years ago while I was at her house and she brought me into the basement and I thought that she had robbed Toys R Us. She had pleaded with me for the entire year leading up to Black Friday to go with her and I didn’t love the idea because I have a huge family and even bigger Thanksgiving celebrations that always result in really late nights. Living in upstate New York, it is usually always frigid on the morning following Black Friday and it never really appealed to me. She was finally able to convince me and her and I sat together and went through some circulars and picked out some items that we were going to have a definite interest in and then planned on buying anything else that caught our eyes. I flailed myself out of bed at about 3:00 am the morning after Thanksgiving, after having been up until after 1:00 and tried to find some motivation. I had all I could do to run a brush through my hair, maybe a little mascara, lip gloss and most importantly, my wool pea coat and scarf. Next thing you know, my sister in law pulls up, bright eyed and bushy tailed; off we went. We live about a half an hour away from our shopping centers and it was dim and cold. After fighting traffic in parking lots I was amazed at the lines that I saw almost wrapping the stores and we were more than an hour early for the store’s opening. We get out and stand in line listening to a variety of different conversations. Some men, mostly women, all different ages, some laughter, some swearing, but a lot of cold breath and red noses. I started to notice that the line was becoming sloppy and one couldn’t recognize exactly who was holding down what position. Then I quickly began to realize that random people started appearing but somehow were finding their way inline closer to the door than I was. People do not like alleged line cutters. You here a clamor of whispers and accusations and then you get someone brave enough to call the “line-cutter” out. Oh my goodness, we’re about to witness a fight and we haven’t even made it into the store. We manage to make it through, unscathed, no fights breaking out and the doors are finally opened. This is where the really danger begins. I saw people pushing the elderly and I saw the elderly pushing right back. There would be groups of people trying to squeeze into the same door at the same time. When I finally realized I was on the inside of the store, I turned to make sure that I hadn’t lost my sister-in-law, but being the veteran Black Friday shopper she is, she was already a step ahead of me. Knowing what direction we needed to head for our top toy, we started off. That’s when I realized that people weren’t walking, they weren’t even simply moving at a fast pace, they were in a full blown sprint, I saw canes flying, walkers scattered. I looked over at my sister-in-law and cracked a half smile and said, “Are we supposed to run”? She just beat feet and took off and I accepted that as my answer. So now, I’m running, like everyone else, but I really don’t know what I’m doing, so I’m running and I’m laughing. By the time I got to the aisle I needed, the item I wanted most was already gone. At that point, I just started picking up items that were marked down that my kids maybe interested, but nothing that blew me over. The whole morning pretty much went the same way, by the time I would get to the store and the aisle I needed, my items were gone. I spent a lot of money that morning and I came home with quite a few things, but nothing really impressed me.
Black Friday? You Can Keep It
I have found that I run into deals throughout the year that are no better or worse than the deals I see on Black Friday. Online shopping has also dramatically changed my shopping habits. This year for instance I shopped a lot through Ebates, for those of you who aren’t familiar it is a website that rewards you cash back through using their site to make purchases from other merchandisers. I also, took advantage of eBay’s “eBay bucks” program; (http://ebaybucks.ebay.com/) that rewards you with “eBay cash” on almost every purchase. I also used my PayPal debit/MasterCard; (https://www.paypal.com/webapps/mpp/debit-card) that offered me 1% cash back on most of my purchases and some of my own banking debit or credit cards that offered cash back. Thanks to access to the World Wide Web, I am able to search specific items and find the best price. Many retailers offer free shipping and I found myself overflowing under the Christmas tree this year, but I didn’t really feel like I had spent a lot of money.
I’ll pass on getting up before the morning starts the day after a huge holiday, to fight traffic and angry mobs, freeze and spend a lot of money in a stressful environment on items that I can get year round for similar prices.