Finally, on Sunday night, I have recovered from my foray out into the world of Black Friday shopping. Traditionally, I'm more of a "buy nothing" person on the day after Thanksgiving. I worked retail for enough years that I can really appreciate just staying home and not bothering to join the crowds. When I worked, it was the one day of the year that NO ONE was allowed to have off. Our store was small, so having the whole staff there, even on a staggered schedule, was a big challenge, but we did it.
Last year, for the first time, I went out shopping at 4:30 a.m. to buy toys for a charity for Deaf kids. I had limited funds and had made a commitment to donate toys and I didn't want to fall down on my responsibility. I got a lot of "Buy one, get one free" items and things for less than 50% off. All in all, I was able to purchase about 28 gifts to donate.
This year, I was more focused on WHAT I wanted to purchase and tried not to worry too much about anything else. I got "Buy one, get one free" items as well as some supplies that, while inexpensive, will hopefully be a hit with the kids. I went to Fred Meyer at 4:45 a.m. and parked near the doors where the toys were. I didn't stand in line because that just seemed like overkill. I waited in my car and I was able to get everything I wanted and a bit more. The biggest challenge for me was waiting in the long checkout line when I was ready to leave - I don't remember that from last year. I think I may have missed the first checkout frenzy last year, so it didn't really show up in my plan.
I feel good about being able to give twice as many gifts for the kids this way. I worry that they won't like the gifts, but if they don't, it is still the thought that counts, right? That is so hard to keep in mind. I started to second guess myself this weekend, but I just decided that if they don't like their gifts, they can trade or something.
If I am still giving to this charity next year, I may actually look in the paper for gifts for my family/friends. If you look in the right places, you can certainly find some good deals and if you are already in the store and really know what you want, why not? I'm not willing to go all over town to every store in the world or to fight with people trying to get "door busters" at Target, but I am willing to entertain a new tradition and to see where it leads. We'll see. I may just maintain the status quo, too.