What Black Friday Taught Me

(Photo Credits: Photo Pin)

We’ve all seen and heard it. “You’re gonna do what?!” “Why on earth would you want to brave those crowds and risk bodily harm to save a few bucks?”

Yanno what? I was one of the ones saying those things… until this year.

I went to a WalMart this year with the intent of buying a “DoorBuster” only-available-at-10PM, laptop computer. Why? Well, because my son has been asking for one and we can’t afford it at full price. This was the only way we could get it for him for his tenth birthday, which inconveniently falls eight days AFTER Christmas.

I found myself visiting with other shoppers and getting to know a lot about them as we stood in line for one of thirty-six laptops… for three and a half hours.

I discovered one grandmother was waiting for the pogo stick her grandson wanted. It was on sale from the regular $40 to the Black Friday price of $14. She budgets $15 for each of nineteen grandkids.

Another lady I met was there to buy a TV for her soon-to-be married daughter. She had to work today and doesn’t have a day off between now and the wedding. She was grateful the store was open and had what she wanted to buy (but could not normally afford) for her only daughter.

I also met a church leader buying up all the $5 PJ sets for the children’s hospital.

Another gentleman in line with me had saved everything he could for the last nine months… $200. It was for his son’s graduation. The laptop we were both waiting for would be his son’s gift and the only way he could afford it was if he (like me) stood in line for hours to get it.

What I learned was:

Yes, it’s a nightmare. But for some? It’s the only way they can afford to get what their loved ones want for the holidays.

Yes, it’s sad that merchants have infringed on the Thanksgiving holiday to “sell”. But for some? They have no other time to shop because they work multiple jobs to make ends meet in a tough economy.

Yes, it’s hard to park, find a cart, get what you want. But for some? It’s totally worth it when they hand over the gift they scrimped and saved for, waiting in line for hours for and planned for in the days leading up to the Black Friday.

It’s hard for me to stomach the comments online now. “What if they volunteered instead? What if they did this or that instead?” What if they did? The grandmother’s grandson would have likely received something he didn’t want… but instead, his grandmother gets to be hero for the day. The lady’s daughter will receive an unexpected wedding gift from her mother, and a Dad’s son will go off to college more prepared. My own son will get the laptop he’s wanted for over a year and we don’t have to be the disappointing parents who can’t give him what he truly wants.

So, really. In my opinion, the world would be a far better place if people quit looking at others’ lives through your own life’s lens. Instead, don’t judge. Don’t think you know a person’s motives or intentions just because they are not your own. You don’t know a person’s life situation any more than they know yours.

For some, this is the only way Christmas can happen. If this works for some, let it be. Not everyone has a fairy Godmother… if you don’t need to or it’s simply not worth it to you (money wise or otherwise), then that’s wonderful for YOU. But for many shoppers it is. So, cut ’em a break. Be happy they are out there driving up revenue so big companies can make enough money to keep supporting the wonderful charities out there that make such a huge impact.

Black Friday, in my opinion, is totally worth it… for those who need it.

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