Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Is It the End?

I didn't know what to think when I hung up the phone.

Karen and I agreed we would not be shopping together on Black Friday.

What had become of us? Remember what we used to do on Black Fridays? One adventure was captured in this post from 2010. Just rereading it this morning flooded my mind with memories of many Black Friday mornings over the last 20 years--40% off coupons, GameBoys, televisions, smashed cell phones.

I know that Karen and I have both gotten a bit older, and since her youngest child is 20, her need for doorbuster toys has disappeared--but I still have little ones. And we both still have shopping to do every year. What is up?

Part of it is us, to be fair, but most of it is the retail system. It used to be that Thanksgiving was a day for family, food, gratitude, and scouring the newspaper ads for the best deals. Karen and I would powwow Thursday evening as we waited for pie hangover to wear off, then we would be up and ready to roll before 3 am. There was a thrill and a method to our madness, and we enjoyed this day every single year. The people who joined us on those crazy mornings were like-minded--out for a few deals, but mostly out to have an adventure and kick of the Christmas season.

Unfortunately, when stores started opening earlier and earlier (gradually encroaching on the sacred day of gratitude), and when online shopping made purchasing so much easier--the thrill of the day waned. I mean, Karen and I would still get up early (one year we began our adventure at 10 pm Thanksgiving night and stayed out all night like college kids) to shop and play, but it wasn't the same.

It's not the same.

I know I sound like an old person (and the closer I get to 50, the more I accept this as reality), but I don't like this new "Black-Friday-Not-Friday-But-Thursday" game. What I loved about Black Friday was spending an entire night/day with my bestie--laughing, joking, shopping, conspiring, making memories. And we both realized that we don't have to miss Thanksgiving to do it.

As it turned out, we spent Thanksgiving weekend in Utah. There was only one item I wanted to purchase at Black Friday prices, and it was at Sam's Club. Conveniently (and completely accidentally), the hotel we picked was just across the street from . . . Sam's Club. Lily agreed to venture into the cold with me for my purchase.
Two AZ girls out at 6:30 am, bundled in the warmest clothes we brought--two sweatshirts each, and Lily's jandals (with socks). Also snagged some peppermint tea from the hotel bar and a spare blanket from the hotel room. We arrived thirty minutes before the store opened, and we were close enough to the front of the line that we could feel hot air rush through the doors as employees came in and out. I asked where my item was, they told me, and we grabbed it. We were second in line at the cashier, and we were back at the hotel before 7:20. It was unfamiliar and just wrong somehow.

Fun with Lily, but wrong without Karen.
Great to get what I wanted, but weird to stop at only one store.

I don't know if this tradition is dead for us. Part of me hopes not, but the rest of me recognizes that an era is probably over.

It makes me sad, really.

I'm old.

I miss the good old days of folding chairs outside Best Buy waiting to score a deal on a computer. I miss shopping carts lining the front of Target to mark where the line should be. I miss watching the occasional brawl (once the police were called).

Mostly, I miss that time with my bestie.

Let's do lunch this week, K?


  1. First of all, how can we possibly be close to 5-0?!!! Second, I am not sure I can give up the time we get to spend with no one expecting us home and just shopping until we drop. Plus having it all done...whew. I really did miss it this year, it just felt wrong to be home and not go to any stores. Set the date for next Black Friday (I still refuse to shop on Thursday!)

  2. Funny that you posted this, because I actually thought about YOU on Black Friday--wondering if you'd made your yearly shopping marathon with your compadres. I didn't go out shopping on Black Friday...instead, I ordered things online and then our gang went to the movies. And that's it. The inherent chaos of Black Friday is more than I want to participate in, at the ripe old age of 54. Seasons change with perspective, perhaps?

  3. I thought of you on Black Friday! When I read your post a few years ago I had never tried the Black Friday thing. Since then, I've ventured out a couple of times but it's just not my thing. This year, I ran into Lowe's...bought a dryer...and got out of there! It was Friday afternoon and actually pretty dead. It's not that I don't love a good bargain...but the older I get the less tolerant I am of people and crowds!