Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Lite - An Anthropological Experiment

For years I have warned the kids that the mall is NO PLACE for civilized humans on Black Friday.  Instead of shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, we will continue to give thanks, as a family, by spending time together at home: playing board games, listening to music, looking at old family photos and maybe doing a 500-piece Elvis jigsaw puzzle or two.  Together.

Typically, I'm ready to slit my wrists by about 9:15 a.m., but I hold it together for the sake of the kids, who can hold out until at least 9:30 if we have enough peanut M&Ms and licorice left over from breakfast.  So, tomorrow, for a change of pace and since I'm all in favor of education and stuff, we're going to do a little anthropological experiment.

We're going to the mall.

I want the kids to know how the other half lives:  what it's like to get stuck in traffic backed-up so far, it's still Thanksgiving Day somewhere; how it feels to circle the parking lot so many times you get dizzy and nauseous and qualify for a Nascar event; whether the pain of a cleated sneaker on your back is mitigated by saving 40% off on a Chia Pet.

But we're going to do Black Friday LITE.  We won't leave the house at 3 a.m., we won't bring a battering ram, we won't have a "strategy."

It will just be "us" against "them."  I'll report back on Monday.

Hold me.  I'm scared.


  1. Ohhhhh. Better you than me.

  2. You're taking your family with you? I am so calling social services on your ass. What is the world coming to when innocent children are exposed to the seamier side of society?

    Oh, the humanity!

  3. what it's like to get stuck in traffic backed-up so far, it's still Thanksgiving Day somewhere; LMAO!!!!! Brilliant line Joan!

  4. @Karla -- my kids ARE the seamier side of society.

  5. Very funny, look forward to seeing how it went. I've only ever done Black Friday "lite" and never hit the mall. You are brave...
    Brandy Mychals
    Split Second Perceptions

  6. Wow, I loved this. Being a Brit I have never experienced any of this in person but it sounds like you're taking your life in your hands...:-) Looking forward to hearing the rest.


    Fiona Stolze

  7. Give this woman a medal for bravery. I sit with my mouth open just watching it on the TV. I could not imagine actually being there. Me?...give me Cyber Monday any day..sitting at the desktop, coffee in hand,..not a child in sight..No Christmas music in November...No Santa in a big snowy globe.....No one screaming "I saw it first" .....Now That's the way to shop!

    Julie Labes, the....Fierce over 50 feels like a young woman Travel lover, entrepreneur,loyal friend, funny, intelligent, opinionated, mom, wife, doesn't own a jogging stroller, these are NOT my Grandchildren"... Woman

  8. You are brave! But I understand the urge, and also the desire to take the tribe out of the house. As for me, I do love those jigsaw puzzles...

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer

  9. Good grief - have you gone mad woman! You wouldn't catch me going anywhere near the mall on Black Friday - I just don't get it. We went Christmas shopping on Saturday - without kids - lots of great deals still on, no lines, easy to park. Nailed nearly all of it. Our Black Friday was spent lazily in front of the fire and preparing for vistors Friday evening - much more civilized...
    Look forward to hearing how it went.
    Louise Edington
    International AuPair Finder
    Facing Fears and Frontiers Over Fifty

  10. As someone said better you then me. As I'm in the process of writing about Slow Home, which supports a Slow Life, I'm not a proponent of the gift frenzy of Christmas. To me it's the opposite of what the holiday is all about. We give the gift of time and love in this household and skip the commercial part completely.
    I have to attribute this to my mother who was always big on giving the gift of time or of something we created that was reflective of our talent and the receivers personal likes. It set the precedent early on for a slower and more thoughtful approach to gift giving

  11. For years I've celebrated Black Friday as "Buy Nothing Day". However last year, just to be different, I went out into the shopping frenzy .. at a leisurely 10AM. I survived, but this year I'm back to "Buy Nothing Day", it's better that way.

  12. I will be interested to hear how your experience turned out! There has never been anything I wanted to purchase so badly that I would jump into the Black Friday fray, and I just am unable to relate to those who camp out for days to be first in line. Think about it...once the door is opened, whether you are first in line or not, you get overrun with everyone behind you! Anyway, I can understand your curiosity and desire to get out of the house, so hope it all went well and that you survived!

  13. Can't imagine what that was like. I've done Walmart before, that was horrible. Did Target this year, but the item I was looking for "sold out" early. Bought it later in the day, after the frenzy had subsided. Hope it went well for the family's sake!

  14. I agree with Donna McCord. I absolutely don't get black Friday. I wouldn't even consider participating even for the experience. I wish everyone would stop living up to the brainwashed role of consumer. What a shallow reason for existence. We as a nation can do so much better than that. I hope your kids learned that the consumer hype is a bunch of bunk. Thanks for your post on the experiment.

  15. Can't wait to hear the results. Might want to wear some protective gear. Hope you escape all in one piece!

    Sharon Hiebing
    Follow Your Dream Compass

  16. How did it go for you on Black Friday Joan?

    I have never been a part of the Black Friday frenzy. Somehow early hours, traffic back up, lack of parking spaces and harried shoppers stalking merchandise never appealed to me. I am for your family-oriented tradition. We opt for local skiing if conditions permit.

    Rachel Lavern
    Personal Transformation, Enlightenment and Development

  17. Why break from your tradition?! I don't go anywhere near the mall from Black Friday to Gray Sunday...well, this year I went briefly on Sunday to see if the mall Post Office was open to drop off my DirecTV return, it was not, so I left post-haste. Look forward to hearing about your adventures.

    Pat Zahn, Photo Solutions Superhero

  18. So Joan how did the experiment go? I bet the kids were enthralled to be part of it. Love how you phrase the horror :) I tend to stay away from the mall unless I really need something bad. I am glad you decided to do Black Friday Lite. Like I tell my clients, if you buy it in frenzy mode, you probably take it back anyway.

    Jennifer Duchene
    The Home Makeover Mixtress

  19. So well written, and SO brave. I can't imagine taking my little ones out on black friday, madness!


    Lisa Vitale

  20. If it was really worth going to, they would have called it Pink Friday... But alas, it is named appropriately.

    Looking foward to hearing the results!

    Candace Davenport ~ Little Books with a Big Message

  21. I love your sense of humor & you must have a great sense of humor to go out on Black Friday with kids in tow! I'm with Julie & have Cyber Monday everyday using a free web app - My Shopping Genie. No lines, no drama, no fighting, just sitting in my room butt naked with my wine, my computer, & my genie cheaply granting my every wish.

    Lisa Ann Landry
    Vibrating Positive Energy

  22. Being an entrepreneur I never darken the door of malls or shopping centers during a time when the majority of the population could be there too.

    I'm anxious to hear the results of your scientific experiment. What was the real motivation? Those deals too good to resist?

    Darcie Newton
    Using Real Estate to Fuel Retirement

  23. You have such a way with words! And such a brave heart. Your poor things would have been better off at home I dare say; bet they won't ask to do this again!
    Yvonne Hall

  24. Better you than me! When my kids where in middle and high school we used to go. We didn't do much, hit a few stores, went out to breakfast a little more shopping then home before lunch time for nap.

    Jean Bentley
    Building Relationships...One Card at a Time