Today is Black Friday, and every year before this one I spent this "national holiday" sitting comfortably at home, smugly congratulating myself on not being one of those exhausted consumers scratching and clawing their way through the stampeding masses on safari for the latest toy, television, or gadget. Every year I scoffed at the idea of waking up at 3am to stand in line in the cold November air, waiting to rush madly into the local superstore in a vain attempt to quell my own (and now, my children's) materialistic desires. Every year I refused to participate in this cavalcade of consumerism--every year, that is, until this one.
My wife is very much not like me. I hate crowds. She thrives on the chaos of a packed parking lot and the buzz of a crowded mall. I hate shopping. It breathes life into her soul. But I love my wife very much, and because I love her very much, I found myself at a WalMart teeming with shoppers at 12 midnight on Black Friday.
We all stood idly by large pallets covered in wrapping paper, waiting for the signal to come over the intercom that the clock had struck 12:01 and the free for all could begin. My pallet contained Lego sets of 405 pieces for a scant $15. Cyrus loves Legos. This is a great value. I can purchase his happiness at Christmas and pass on the savings to Eisley and Ezekiel. These were the thoughts running through my head when an unintelligible voice cackled over the intercom and my fellow consumers began tearing through the wrapping paper. There was a rush from behind me as arms came flailing through every available opening grabbing at the blue boxes (the green ones were Duplo--lame) full of Junior's happiness. I grabbed my box and moved away as quickly as I could, searching out a part of the store less populated by overly motivated parents.
When all was said and done, Breena and I managed to get what we came for (and a little bit extra, of course--that's how they get you!) without doing too much damage to our bodies, our bank account, and possibly our souls. This is not something I would ever do by myself or for myself. I participated in Black Friday because I love my wife and I wanted to spend time with her in her world. And because of that, it was fun.
Black Friday isn't for me. Maybe it's for you. It's certainly a smart consumer choice if you're willing to sacrifice some sleep and physical comfort. You can get your Christmas shopping done and spend less money doing it. But, for me, Black Friday isn't about savings, it's about love. I love you Breena!