Why I Won’t Be Shopping Black Friday


    When I graduated from college, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I had a shiny new liberal arts degree and no marketable skills. After kind of working in my field for a couple of months, I decided to apply to work in the mall. And thus started my retail career. The first holiday season I worked was 1999 at Bath and Body Works. Subsequent holidays have been spent at Belk, Pier One Imports, Claire’s Boutique and Starbucks.

    What It’s Like to Work Black Friday

    Sure everything is all nice and neat now … but wait about 10 minutes and see how tidy this display looks.

    Working Black Friday can be very hard. Shelves are easy wiped out in a matter of moments as customers scramble to get the deals on sale. It’s difficult to replace the items in a timely manner, or even worse, they run out (which happened when I worked at Bath and Body Works — we ended up restocking the shelves with extra lotions we had in the back).

    And while I was a barista at the Columbiana Starbucks, the line stayed out the door most of the day as shoppers needed their caffeine fix to continue persevering towards the next big items on their list (talk about a loooooong day — as prepared as we thought we were, we still had to restock the milk later in the day … not to mention caffeine, little sleep and a shopping agenda are enough to push the calmest of consumers over the edge).

    And those are just a few things that are hard once you arrive to your job. What can be even more difficult is what happens before you step foot in the door at your place of employment – things such as not being able to spend Thanksgiving with family due to a 2:30 a.m. wake-up call, to hiking across huge parking lots because the spaces up front are reserved for customers. Not to mention the crazy traffic pattern that no one seems to be able to follow when they are leaving Columbiana Centre.

    Although I didn’t enjoy working Black Friday, there are plenty of folks who do … and there are definitely some perks (like the opportunity for overtime, which comes in especially handy during the holiday season, or the joy helping a husband pick out the perfect gift for his wife). Some families can easily rearrange their Thanksgiving plans, and for those who don’t have someone to spend the holiday with, it can be a welcomed distraction.

    Reasons I Won’t Be Shopping Black Friday

    I’ve since left my retail career behind, but my experiences and feelings about Black Friday remain the same. As a shopper, there is no deal out there that I want badly enough to venture out in the craziness during this particular shopping event. Make no mistake, I’m not a Scrooge, but I won’t be hitting the sales on Black Friday. Here are the top 5 reasons why:

    Ever wondered what New York traffic is REALLY like? Just drive down Harbison Boulevard between now and the first of the year.
    Ever wondered what New York traffic is REALLY like? Just drive down Harbison Boulevard during the holiday season.
    • Two words … Harbison Boulevard … enough said. In fact, might as well strike that area from your driving route between now and the first of the year unless you enjoy bumper-to-bumper traffic, sitting in your car for long periods of time waiting for the stop light to turn green/take a left turn/someone let you out of the parking lot and/or large crowds.
    •  I have a newborn. I’m absolutely terrified of her picking up illnesses from being out in crowds.
    • I have a 2, 4, and 5 year old. It’s hard enough to prevent them from touching the merchandise when the stores aren’t packed full of holiday extras. There’s no way I want to entince them even more with an abundance of holiday paraphernalia and toys.
    • I shop throughout the year for our friends and family. At this point, the only people on my Christmas list are my husband and children. If you don’t currently maintain a gift closet, I highly suggest you do so. December is much more enjoyable when you aren’t rushing from store to store trying to find the blender grandma desperately wants.
    • My family has too much stuff. There is absolutely nothing that we need. In fact, the only items on my kids’ Christmas lists are the Disney Infinity game (which we purchased used from eBay several weeks ago) and pajamas, which is something that it seems that my boys always need. In fact, going forward I plan to stick with this gift giving philosophy that I read recently: “something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.”

    Thankfully my children don’t see many commercials, so we have avoided a situation like my need for a Cabbage Patch Kid during Christmas of 1983. I truly believe that the best gifts come from the heart, and for that I don’t need to camp out in a parking lot.

    What are your thoughts on shopping Black Friday? Love it or hate it?


    1. You make great points. I like the excitement of Black Friday, but there is nothing I really need. Being from a retail background as well, I always make sure to be on my very best behavior during all the chaos! I once worked 19 hours straight during all that Holiday Hoopla!


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