MILLS' MUSINGS: The day after. What now?

Let’s just make one thing clear, I hate shopping. I don’t care what it’s for, what I’m buying or where I’m buying it from, I loathe it.

Unfortunately, shopping is a necessary evil in our modern world. Sure, there are some of us who can live completely off the land and make it without all knick-knacks and commodities found in retail stores. Those are the people you want to be buddies with, by the way — you know, just in-case this whole civilization thing ends up crumbling down someday.

However, most of us aren’t like those people, I’m sure I’d have a hard time even nurturing a dandelion to grow.

And then there’s Black Friday. I can’t stand Black Friday. You spent a whole day being thankful for the people and things you have, just to go stand-in line in hopes of getting 30% off an item you want, which will be irrelevant in a year when the new one comes out.

That’s the thing, branded corporations and large retailers know that people will go along with their “Black Friday deals” or their “doorbuster sales,” so why should they be inclined to change?

If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it. And if people with the tryptophan still pumping through their veins are willing to line up at 3 a.m. for a discount, then why stop them?

If anything, they’re steering the other way. Black Friday has been pushed back to start even earlier now. This year, Walmart’s Black Friday deals started at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. It wasn’t even Friday yet! There was still another football game to watch that evening and more left-overs to go through!

It’s not just Black Friday anymore, either. Now we have Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. There have been some to try and counterbalance the consumerism. Buy Nothing Day runs congruent with Black Friday and aims at convincing people to — you guessed it, buy nothing that day. In 2011, Giving Tuesday was born. Giving Tuesday is a day meant for charitable giving.

To be fair, I understand why people participate in Black Friday. For some, it’s a means of being able to afford gifts for loved ones on Christmas. For others, like some in my family, it’s just become part of the Thanksgiving tradition. It’s not really the shoppers I have a large problem with — although, if you wouldn’t participate in this circus, the ringleaders would have to change their ways, but I digress.

I actually have a Black Friday story myself. Back when I was still a teenager, but old enough to drive, my family started participating in the chaos. With my mother’s video camera in hand — this was in 2007/2008, the video recording quality on my flip phone wasn’t great — my cousin and I decided we would drive down to Corbin Walmart and interview shoppers. We got there several hours after the “deals” went on sale, so there was no need to wait outside. After finally finding a parking spot at the complete opposite end of the parking lot we began to make our way into the store. I vividly remember how full Walmart’s parking lot was that night/morning. I had never seen it that full. I don’t think I had even realized that many people lived in Corbin.

We had our fun, annoyed some older folks, and wasted a bunch of time, the teenage hit-track, if you will. The whole situation really just turned into my cousin and I recording ourselves being goofy kids in an area where strangers stood shoulder to shoulder, with sleep in their eyes and frustrations on their brains.

I’m sure we were the last thing any of the shoppers or Walmart staff wanted to deal with. However, we did find a few people who agreed to answer our questions. I asked every person who agreed to answer at least one question the following: “is this all worth it?”

Whether they were joking just to match our playful demeanor or not, most, if not all of them, said it wasn’t worth it.

By the way, next year, if you find yourself in the midst of the Black Friday chaos and need a break, if the store you’re in has a grocery section, go there. The grocery section of Walmart during Black Friday is basically a ghost town.

I’m an adult, I work now, I understand the appeal of a sale. I now understand the value of the all-mighty dollar and how the value of that dollar has significantly decreased over the years, but that’s a different topic. All of that said, you still won’t catch me outside waiting in Black Friday lines. How about that?

I realize that there’s really nothing I can say to change how people feel about shopping and Black Friday. Honestly, that’s not my intention. I truly believe in a live and let live lifestyle. To those shoppers who live for the rush of finding a good deal and those who are just trying to provide a good Christmas to others on a budget, I get it and I think nothing differently of you. I just don’t understand it, and therefore try to distance myself from it. Maybe it’s the society we’ve created for ourselves, one that’s so focused on consumerism and places such an importance on receiving gifts on Christmas, or maybe I’m just a crabby, frugal, old man inside the body of someone in their late 20s — that’s probably the real reasoning behind my distaste for Black Friday. Either way, that’s the way of the world and it is what it is.

Life is like that. Sometimes things happen or things are they way that they are and we really don’t have a reasoning or a solution to it. Not that everything you disagree with needs a solution.

What defines us is how we react to those instances or things in life we don’t fully understand or agree with. Always stand up for what you believe in, but choose your battles wisely. This is Black Friday, not an injustice, and therefore, I simply ignore it. I choose not to deal with all of the deals during America’s greatest weekend for deals.

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