Today marks Black Friday and my feed is full of brands and ambassadors pitching their super sales and shoppers sharing their finds (or frustrations). I don’t begrudge anyone trying to save a little money when it comes to the holidays or any time of year for that matter but I find myself wondering is it really worth it?
I can hear you rolling your eyes. I have done the Black Friday cross the border thing albeit when we only had two little kids. I was lured in by the super discounts touted by our US friends. We thought of it as an adventure. We went through all the flyers the night before, making lists of the shops to hit and the items to focus on. We were up early for 4 a.m. pancakes at the local IHOP and then fought the parking lots and store crowds, dividing and conquering our list only to find most of our time was spent standing in line for the checkout.
Perhaps it is because I am older and I’ve changed my views on how I want to spend my time or maybe I’ve been listening to my own conversations to my kids about want versus need and how fortunate we are compared to others, but my attitudes have changed on the whole super sale shopping mentality. Whether it’s Black Friday or Boxing Day, I find myself wondering is it really worth it?
Is it worth your time and aggravation? Have you ever noticed that these huge sales sometimes bring out the least friendly people? I’ve worked in retail and there’s only so much negativity, aggression, and unfriendliness that one can absorb before it starts to come through on unsuspecting shoppers. Getting through crowds to pick-up the last game console or standing in hot, long lines with people who are thinking of the sale next door and want to checkout NOW. Is it really worth it?
Is it worth your sanity? Negativity begets negativity. Another person’s stress can seep into your soul, souring your mood taking you from festive to frustrated. Someone bumps into you and doesn’t apologize or argues that you took that sweater out of their hand you can’t help but feel that anger in the pit of your stomach. Is it really worth it?
Is it worth the money? Just because something is marked down doesn’t mean it is really a deal or perhaps it’s not something you need. Believe me, I’ve been caught in the throws of sale shopping only to end up with a stack of stuff that gets donated down the road. Are you really saving money or are you just spending the same amount but on more things? Is it really worth it?
Is it worth shopping at retailers that don’t value others? There are some stores I refuse to shop at because of the value (or lack of value) they put on their customers and employees. Don’t get me wrong I’m not a purist when it comes to boycotting brands. I have bought my fair share of stuff made in foreign countries (and probably still will) but are those deeply discounted products made cheaply through questionable manufacturing and employee practices? Does the desire to save another thirty dollars negate our desire to think of how a company can provide us with that discount? Do you find yourself shopping in places you normally wouldn’t go just to take advantage of a sale? Is it really worth it?
Is it worth forgetting the local guy? Feeling disenchanted with so many brands and companies that put profit before people I have found myself supporting the local guy. We’re lucky to live in a country with so much great talent. I love visiting my local shops, supporting these business that make my community a pleasure to live in. I love supporting the creativity of others through sites like Etsy Canada that provides a link between artisans living in another part of the country and myself. These local businesses may not have the wherewithal to discount like the mass stores but that doesn’t mean you can’t find lovely handcrafted jewelry, hand pressed cards, or individually stitched shirts to give as a gift. Is it really worth it?
I’m sure some will take this the wrong way. I’m not angry. I’m just a little saddened by how the words Sale and Black Friday can change many of us (me included). I’m partly writing this as a reminder to myself but also to everyone else when you are shopping holiday sales remember to ask yourself is it worth it?