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If you want to witness sadness and the total consummation of the human soul with materialism, stop by your local Best Buy or Wal-Mart sometime this week before Thanksgiving. News sources in California and Ohio are already reporting that a line of people has started forming for the Black Friday door-buster deals. Yes, today is Monday. Yes, there people are foregoing a national holiday to save a few hundred bucks on a friggin’ laptop or camera. Yes, this should probably make you ashamed of what America has done with Christmas, especially the opening day of shopping season. But year after year, hundreds of thousands of people cram into retail stores like a pack of wild dogs, devouring shelf after shelf of mediocre deals on stuff they don’t need.
But The Deals Must Be Worth It, Right?
Surely, waiting outside of a store for an entire week must mean that the deals are incredible! Based on the time spent in line (not working), along with battling the elements and all the food needed to survive, they must be giving away some 60″ LED TV’s, selling surround sound systems for like $0.85, and stuffing your pockets with as many iPhones as you can carry. Most likely they’ll have a selection of catered food and wine, freshly imported from Italy, as well as free haircuts for the first 1,000 suckers people in line. The staff will be most attentive and make shopping the most pleasant experience of the year.
But a quick search of the internet shows me that this is far from reality. Most of the “BIG DEALS” give you a few hundred dollars off an item. And if you were just walking into the store on a normal day, these would be some great deals (you know, assuming you had money set aside in your Christmas savings bucket for them). But people are lining up 5 or 6 days in advance to grab one of these hot items. So let’s do a mock cost-breakdown of hat people are REALLY spending to get one of these “great deals.”
Assuming they make between $10-$15 an hour and work full-time:
- If they skip work to stay in line = $240 – $360
- Food for 5 days (at $30 a day) = $150
- Water = $8
- Disposable waste bag (25 bags) = $33
- Shower in a can = $14
Total = $445 – $565
Based on the available sales, if they buy a few of the more expensive items, they might be able to break even. Maybe.
But It’s A Tradition
Really? Yea, well so is Thanksgiving. You know, pilgrims crossed the Atlantic, almost died, some people met with the natives, learned to survive from them and threw a big feast. “But that’s so dated. Who cares about the history of the world and why things are, just give me a new PlayStation!” Is this now what we’ve come to? In one of the news stories that I linked above, they stated that one 16-year-old girl had NEVER sat down and had a Thanksgiving dinner due to the tradition of waiting in line for these Black Friday deals. REALLY?! So they don’t actually need any of this stuff, they are just going so they can say they went as a family tradition.
Here’s an idea; maybe they can start a new family tradition where family gets together, sits at a large table and shares a warm meal. Everyone can share stories of their lives and talk about what in life they are thankful for. Then they can all eat some bird and just enjoy each other’s company without thinking about what stupid electronic they can buy the next day. They can remember how blessed they are to live in America, and remember the people that made it possible. And maybe then my mom wouldn’t have to leave at 11:30pm on a holiday night to go to work and sell a bunch of trinkets to customers who are so obsessed with “savings” that they skip national holidays to buy them (and by “buy” I mean charge it to a credit card that they won’t pay off until next summer).
So, What Would I Buy?
Though I am truly saddened by the brainwash that has whipped America into a frenzy which we call “Black Friday”, it is kind of fun to look at the potential deals that are out there. So, if I were to completely lose my mind, quit my job to stand in a line and give up any and all dignity, here’s what I would buy:
Best Buy – Toshiba 40″ 1080p LCD for $179.99 – Our TV is a little small for our room, and a new TV would be fun to have. Now, we don’t watch much TV (maybe once every two weeks, the rest of the time it’s on our laptop screen), but since we paid $400 for our 32″ 720p TV, this is quite a deal.
Lowe’s – Skil 10″ Compound Miter Saw for $79.00 – With all the wood shop projects I have going on around here, I really need one of these. This one looks like the best price I’ve seen, and decent quality.
And that’s really it. I didn’t see any other killer deals that I really care about. And let’s face it, I don’t make enough money to justify purchasing anything on Black Friday unless it’s on our Christmas list. And these things are definitely not.
What Are You Doing?
So, this Thanksgiving, what are you doing? What will be the dinner conversation in your house? Will it revolve around the new iGadget that you are going to leave dinner early to go get, or will you be able to sit back, relax and enjoy your time with the people you love? We are hosting thanksgiving this year, and we plan on giving thanks for all of the blessing we have been given, and sharing in the blessing of friends and family as well. To waste the precious few moments we get to spend with the ones you love talking about tomorrow’s deals would be a waste of life.
Comments: See above paragraph 🙂