(This is what I imagine Black Friday looks like. I’m not that far off, right?)
Thanksgiving is almost here. Since the holiday serves as a welcome reminder to reflect on what we’re grateful for, I’ll get the ball rolling early. I’m grateful to live in New York City as the biggest shopping day of the year approaches. Why? Because Black Friday doesn’t really exist here. Or if it does, it’s not nearly the same.
Since our little concrete oasis is devoid of malls, we skip the whole, wake up before dawn and camp out in the Best Buy parking lot to get your hands on a flat screen TV with a manufacturers’ mail-in rebate experience that’s a part of so many suburbanites’ holiday weekend. (And for all you NYC-sticklers, don’t try to tell me Manhattan Mall is a “real” mall. One JC Penney’s and an Express do not a mall make. Where’s the food court? Where’s the funny-smelling novelty store that still sells lava lamps?!)
Is my adopted hometown any worse for missing out on this? I don’t think so.
Now, I don’t begrudge people their traditions. I know plenty of folks for whom this yearly retail pilgrimage is as important to their Thanksgiving holiday as overdosing on pumpkin pie. In fact, I have my own traditions I’d never think of giving up. My favorite? Sleeping. I like it so much, in fact, that I celebrate it every single night, usually for upwards of seven hours at a time.
Apart from the desire to sleep off my food coma, I have to ask: are the deals even that amazing? Since I purposefully ignore the flyers alerting me to “SALES DEALS AND STEALS!”, maybe I’m missing out on the chance to buy a brand-new bedroom set for just a dollar or some such extraordinary savings. I don’t think I’m alone, though, in saying the last thing I want to think about after toasting our country’s founding with half a turkey resting comfortably in my stomach is a strategy for navigating an angry mob of discount shoppers. Or how best to bundle up for a pre-dawn frost.
And at the risk of offending those still dealing with a dial-up connection, do these Black Friday dwellers realize that the mall stores offering these “doorbuster deals” are the same ones you can find by typing their name into your internet browser’s search bar? Meaning, I can roll out of bed, open up my laptop, and buy the same stuff in my PJ’s as you picked up in your parka. And for those who’d argue that the deals aren’t as good as those you find in stores, I’d remind you that Cyber Monday is quickly closing that gap. Once you factor in the cost of convenience, I’d argue it’s even closer. My sleep is worth at least the cost of a discounted DVD player.