I am not a hard core Black Friday shopper. I tried one year—with a half-hearted attempt to get a TV at a large store. My DH and I took turns standing in icy winds making light conversation with strangers, and building pockets of warmth with our breath while we waited orderly in a line. And then in the final seconds before the doors were to open, a woman dashed from the parking lot and crowded to the front door.
Something inside me cracked and I stepped sideways to prevent her further progress. I said something about the back of the line or impertinent people or such. It was not my finest moment. In reflecting, I am ashamed that I felt her unjust action could so quickly convince me to abandon any tendency toward brotherly kindness.
Once inside the door I made sure I got to the pile of TVs before the inconsiderate lady, not thinking that my own actions were reflecting a similar mind. And in the end, we returned our TV for a different model.
Eventually, in hindsight, I faced my momentary lack of good character and was further convinced that I did not need to battle for a chance at stuff when someone else probably wanted it more.
At least until last night. The shiny pictorial ads that came in the mail seduced me once again.
I made a list for several things at a near-by store that would open its doors at 9 p.m. Thanksgiving night. Then my DH and I drove through our town to arrive as the doors opened. I had forgotten the previous experience completely.
We were two stop-lights away when I noticed that several cars, with the same last-minute agenda, were turning into that store’s parking lot. We began to hesitate. A block away we could see the silouetted line of people stretching down the side of the building like a long, black picket fence. And suddenly I decided that I didn’t need anything that badly. We turned around and went home where we bought a gift for our granddaughter online.
I love the feeling of shopping at Christmas—the lights, the window displays, the cheerful music and especially the wide-eyed anticipation in the eyes of children. However, there is something not so holy about the new holiday we’ve created dedicated to commercialism and bargains.
So today while people are recovering from their late night and early morning encounters with sharp elbows and limited merchandise, I am decorating a tree and listening to carols and transforming my home from the warm abundance of Thanksgiving to the sparkling, elegance of Christmas. And I am thankful that the good feelings of gratitude expressed yesterday are not swept away by the greed of Black Friday.