Why I Love Black Friday Shopping

I wholeheartedly understand the animosity towards Black Friday. It’s a corporate "holiday" that capitalizes on American greed and materialism. It lures families away from a dinner table at which they used to sit giving thanks for the things they have, into the blistering cold to wait hours for, you guessed it, more things.

And yet, every year, I nag my mom, grandmother and sisters to get up at an ungodly hour to go shopping with me. Why? Because (drumroll please) I’m a sucker for the tradition.

And to anyone who knows me, hearing me write about the value of "tradition" probably elicits a laugh. I don’t even like having the same thing for breakfast two days in a row, let alone repeat the same obsolete ritual every 365 days.

I haven’t been to nearly enough therapy to unpack why this particular tradition gets me, but it does.

Credit: wtnh.com

My first Black Friday memory comes a number of years ago, when I was probably nine or ten. My family was at my mother’s parents’ house in Maine that Thanksgiving and I remember (vaguely) hanging around by a fire outside their house by the lake when my mom and grandmother returned from a Black Friday adventure of their own.

I suppose my sisters and I must have been too young for an invite, but I remember them recounting the details of their morning to the rest of the family. They both looked tired as the mumbled on, exchanging knowing glances here and there and chucking over things you must have had to be there for.

I have no idea why they decided to go that year. All I know is, after that, I wanted in.

If I remember correctly, the next year it was just me, my mom and my grandmother. I don’t know how I managed to convince them to take me, as aside from that one year before I don’t remember them being particularly avid Black Friday shoppers.

I don’t remember what we bought. I do remember getting breakfast at a lovely, ornate gas station eatery called (and I kid you not) “Eat Here, Get Gas.”

I had pancakes, and I asked the two of them what they did when they used to get embarrassed in class. Why? Again, no clue, although doing something embarrassing in class sounds like me. I remember their advice and the truly terrible pancakes.

Another year I went with just my mom and I. We were home for Thanksgiving that year, and I bet my mom thought she was off the hook. She was wrong.

I made her take me to a mall near our house. I remember some cheap gift set from Victoria’s Secret, and a bundle of Bath and Body Works soaps. I took the free body spray, and my mom took the candle.

Aside from that, I don’t remember what we bought.

I do remember coming home and lying on my couch, exhausted. I watched Good Morning America and listened to my parents talking in the kitchen, their voices lulling me to sleep.

In the following years, I wrangled my sisters in with us, finally. I think we were in Maine again. After the annual, “Audrey we’re not getting up at 2 a.m. to go shopping again,” “Yes mother we are,” debate, me, my older sister Paulina and younger sister Kate all wondered downstairs to sleep in the furnished basement of my grandmother’s house.

We stayed up too late for three girls who had alarms set to 2:30 am. Paulina and I finally dozed off, but poor little Kate was too excited to ever fall asleep.

“Guys, I can feel my heart vibrating,” she said. Paulina and I found this quite hysterical.

Credit: unsplash.com

I also remember being in the car (we must have been waiting for someone to get gas) when my mom asked me if I was a lesbian. I’m sure if you asked her today she would say she did no such thing, or at least that she had no idea why she would have asked that. (Hint: Probably the 800 photos of Avril Lavigne I was hoarding on my iPod.)

I said no at the time. Four years later, sitting in a booth at UNOs, I told her I was bisexual. “So?” she responded, unimpressed. “Do you still want guacamole?”

I have no clue what we bought that year.

This past year whittled down to just my mom and my sisters. My grandmother had finally hung up her 2 am shopping shoes (understandable, and we’ll give her a pass considering she put up with me for so long before that).

We were in Maine. Someone had the ingenious idea of going to some outdoor shopping mall where we froze in the bitter cold walking from L.L. Bean to Vineyard Vines. I remember doubling over with laughter in the lobby of L.L. Bean, but I have no idea why. I don’t remember what we bought that year.

Credit: shutterstock.com

My Black Friday experiences have been a whirlwind and I can't wait to see what this year has in store for me! 


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