I have fond memories of Black Friday. As a child, I remember the adults in my family waking up at insane hours to go and join the masses in line at Walmart. They didn’t bring us kids, but I would eagerly await their return to see everything they bought. When I saw news clips about how long shoppers waited in line and saw them racing around the stores, I so badly wanted to participate! I was an avid Supermarket Sweep viewer so this seemed to be right up my alley.
Once I was old enough to go, I loved everything about it, and Black Friday became a thing for me from then through adulthood. As my mom cooked on Thanksgiving, I would go out to hunt for the Thanksgiving Day newspaper. Sometimes, if I didn’t get an early enough start I would have to make several stops before I found one! Later that day, after we ate, we would clear off the large dining room table and pull out the newspapers I secured full of Black Friday ads.
Then, the strategizing would begin. This was years before there were websites dedicated to this. We would check what stores opened at what times, locations, and pick out what we wanted to seek out at each place. We then had to prioritize what items were likely to be in demand and map out our game plan and route.
The next morning … game on! We would wake up super early, grab our ads and hit the road. Yes, there were lines. Yes, there was chaos. And yes, there were some frustrations. But we always found a thrill, enjoyed an activity that spanned the age range of everyone involved, and we got a lot of stuff! We would wrap the morning up with breakfast and by the time we got home, we crashed as if we had run a marathon.
Throughout the years, my Black Friday adventures evolved. As a teenager I had a mall job and got to experience it as a sales associate. That was intense, but I still found it all so thrilling. As a college student, my Black Friday partners were my friends we would anxiously wait at the door for our favorite clothing stores to open. As an adult, my Black Friday focus became items for my home, and as a wife and mother, I started focusing on snagging deals for my kids and holiday décor. I’m a true bargain shopper, and I’ve loved it all.
But now … Black Friday just isn’t the same. With the rise of online shopping, early Black Friday sales and of course Covid, the days of Black Friday as I knew it are gone.
Now, the Friday after Thanksgiving has become just another day. I’ll be at home this Black Friday, possibly looking at a few deals online. But it won’t ever be the same or give me that same familiar thrill. Black Friday as I knew it has now become a fond memory that I will one day try to explain to my kids.
Are you a Black Friday shopper?