Thoughts on Black Friday and the Holidays

When I worked in retail, from 1998 until 2008, Black Friday was my favorite day of the year to work.  Seriously.  I truly enjoyed getting to work at 4am and putting the final touches on the displays before opening the doors to a wave of people.  It was exhilarating!  Seeing so many people with smiles on their faces when they were able to buy what they had gotten up early and waited in line for was very satisfying.

Black Friday was the one day a year that all employees were focused on satisfying customers’ needs instead of just trying to check tasks off of a list.  I’d hear stories about how much people were going to enjoy the gifts being bought.

Black Friday is not all about mass consumption (although, there is an element of that).  It’s the retail Super Bowl.  What other day of the year draws that many people out to participate in such a gathering?

These days, I like to go out on Black Friday to be a part of the hustle and bustle.  It’s about a 50/50 shot as to whether I make a purchase or not, but I like being amongst the people.  I think it’s fun.

With all the talk this year about the retailers choosing to open at midnight, here’s something else to think about.  Every Thanksgiving, millions of Americans eat their dinner at a restaurant.  They fill up their tanks at gas stations.  They pick up last minute supplies at the grocery store.  People are working ON THANKSGIVING DAY to serve you!  Rather than being upset about opening at midnight, take some time to be thankful and show gratitude to those who are working to make your Thanksgiving a happy one.

I won’t be one of the people shopping at midnight, but I appreciate the business’ right to open then.

A few years ago we realized that Christmas usually falls on December 25th, so we started planning our giving starting at the beginning of the year.  A small amount of money gets transferred into a checking account every week.  I’m talking about a meal at McDonald’s for Liz and me each week — barely enough to notice.  By the time we get to holiday shopping season, we have more than enough to give all we want.  It has totally changed how we look at holiday shopping.  Since we started planning our giving, every year we find that we have to keep going out shopping because we haven’t used up the money!  It’s easy to have a cheerful holiday season when you don’t have to dread the credit card bill in January.

If you haven’t planned for giving to this point, it’s not too late to start! Christmas will come around again next year.  Probably on December 25th.

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About Raun Lauterbach

Optimistic realist, life enthusiast, outdoor cook, Midwest traveler, husband, father... Follow me: Twitter | Facebook | Get updates in your email
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