Black Friday
November 20, 2023 by Mason Bell

Black Friday remains the single most important day of shopping, loved by many and mocked by countless more.

Long before the internet’s arrival, it was difficult to know how other cities handled the holiday. The local library, and their out-of-state newspapers subscriptions, were perfect for researching the big cities of the world that terrified my isolationist parents. Too bad I couldn’t drive myself there in the 80s.

My mid-twenties had me spending the holidays in Northern Ohio. My mother-in-law suggested we gather on Black Friday at the local mall, searching out deals and spending quality time with the growing family. Now three kids full, I had absolutely no money, but the idea sounded intriguing. Small crowds and available tables in the food court gave the impression of a pretty chill event.

Ten years and a bit of disposable income later, my path with Black Friday crossed again. With a slash in price, we finally had enough cash to purchase that big screen television flashed across the newspaper advertisement. A ‘quick trip’ to Best Buy ended the year with a bang! Good people turned into maniacal shoppers, starting fist fights over a blender, the trophy of the un-sporty, if you will. The following year saw the internet come into its own, when Americans realized you could buy stuff online without criminals draining your life savings.

Over the next decade, from the safety of my computer screen, I gasped at the annual shopper stampedes, the violent hair pulling, and general vitriol for fellow human beings, wondering what we’d become as a society. The turkey from yesterday wasn’t even casseroled before the holiday of thankfulness was swept aside.

Thankfully, it appears sanity might be making a comeback! Several companies no longer hold Black Friday Sales, instead giving their employees extra time with their families and friends, calling back to 1951 when the term was assigned to employees that called in sick for that very reason. Good on them! Others are limiting store hours or offering deep discounts weeks earlier to gobble up more sales with less stampeding. Brilliant! What will I be doing this Black Friday?

A slice of cherry pie and I will be tucked close to the kitchen table, playing an old-fashioned game of Monopoly with my adult kids. Laughter and recycling of old family jokes will create a wonderful memory that will outlive any half-priced Roku designed to be obsolete by next Christmas. What will you be doing this Black Friday?

Shopping for loved ones? Spending time with family? Using your dollars to reward stores that are bringing sanity back to the holidays? Whatever you do, make it fun and memorable!

If you’re fresh out of ideas, pick up a copy of The Most Spectacular Traveling Box or Galactic Fun Park for .99 cents at Amazon. These are great read aloud stories for the kiddos that teach the importance of empathy, community, and loads of fun!