It’s that time of year again, and it seems to have really sneaked up on me. Every year I debate whether or not I want anything to do with it. Part of me is excited for how good it is, but the other side just doesn’t want to deal with the crowds and drama. No, I’m not describing my family Thanksgiving; I’m talking about Black Friday.
I’m an experienced Black Friday shopper. The seduction of a once-in-a-lifetime deal is good enough to suck anyone in at least once. I have seen and experienced the frenzied day of commerce mania in many different roles, so I’ll give you the rundown of the Black Friday players.
First, you have the “Die Hards.” They buy because it’s a good deal, not because they need or even want what they see in the ads. Die Hards take Grandma’s pie to go. There is no time for seconds when there are good deals to be had. They wait in line, prepare mapped out routes of each store and strategize the best way to get 12 items in four different corners of three stores.
You can easily identify this rare species by their walkie-talkies and matching t-shirts. If you’re not willing to lose a limb for this year’s hottest toy, it’s best to avoid them.
The next group you’re likely to see on Black Friday is the “Casual Shoppers.” This group is the largest of our Black Friday set, but there’s no need to fear them. You won’t likely see them trampling employees or other shoppers. They typically have one item that piqued their curiosity, but have resigned themselves to the fact that the Die Hards will likely snatch them all up first.
When you see someone walking around the store without a cart, you know you’ve spotted a Casual Shopper. Some don’t even shop. They go with the Die Hards to be a line holder or a runner. Casual Shoppers usually either turn into Die Hards, or their experience pushes them towards our next group.
That group is the Abstainers. They sleep in the Friday after Thanksgiving – fully embracing the powers of tryptophan. They have no desire to be among the mobs of deal-crazed shoppers.
Abstainers find irony in the fact that immediately following a day of celebrating how thankful we are for everything we have, we go out and buy more.
It’s true that many Abstainers are also liars. Most people I know go on and on about how much they hate Black Friday. But there are far too many people out shopping for a few of them not to be closeted Die Hards or Casual Shoppers.
Abstainers are the most difficult to spot for obvious reasons. Most of them aren’t out looking for a Furby at 2 in the morning, and if they are, they are desperately trying not to be noticed.
I’m not sure which group I’ll be with this year. Odds have me going as a Casual Shopper, but plans change. I could get totally caught up in the excitement of the day, or I might just embrace that third or fourth helping and take a nice long nap before the big football game.
Cat Koehler is married with two children. She works full time. Read her Mondays on momaha.com
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