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Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Black Friday Dilemma

Oh Black Friday. What do I do with you this year? I am torn.

Here we are the Day after we celebrate all the things we are thankful for. We go into "wait-I-need-more-crap" mode.

Last year, while it was fun, left a slight bitter taste in my mouth.

My sister was able to join me in going up to the in-laws, which has been our tradition now for the past 10 years. 10 years ago I also joined in their tradition of rising early and joining the minions of standing in line for some "awesome deal". I always say that I mainly go for the company. The deals don't hurt either.

MY sister and I decided Wal-Mart was are strating place. I wanted a 19" flat screen for my basement gym. She wanted one as well. As well as some other incidentals. So we got there about and hour and a half before our deal came to fruition and waited. And waited. And laughed. And took turns looking around for other things. And finally midnight came and we picked up our prizes. And eventually met up with everyone else at Kohl's and then went home.

Later in the day we drove the hour 20 back to my house. And I realized I needed milk. So I drive to my closest "grocer", the 1.5 mile drive to Wal-mart. And upon entering my local Wal-Mart, what greets me...but a giant pallate of THE SAME D*** TV I JUST STOOD ALMOST 2 HOURS IN LINE FOR. Probably like 200 of them. To say I was mad would be an understatement. I felt like I had been tricked.

A few years earlier my sister in law and I were probably the first 2 people in line at Target. We thought it was pretty funny since we didn't really require anything. When the time came and the doors were opened we ran into the store like idiots screaming in a mocking tone "tv's! vcrs! cameras!" Yes, vcrs. whatever, it was 5 am. I of course left the store with a 40" tv

This year. I don't know. I am torn. I love the company, and yet and jaded by feeling like I being tricked by corporate greed. I can't think of anything I need, yet looking at the ads I can see things I "want". I also have a list of needy kids I would like to get some nice things for...and black Friday deals help me afford more things for them. I'd like to be the guy that buys a kid a bike. A $50 adult sized bike is do-able.

And then I think about all of this crap that is made in China or wherever. SO my need for a deal keeps supporting US manufacturing overseas. So what? right? But those are jobs that used to be here. MY neighbor needs a job and I am buying into the culture that sends his job somewhere else. Who's to say my husbands job won't be the next to move overseas.

And then what about the cute little downtown area of my hometown. I want to see it survive and thrive. I want to support the little guy. Who is my neighbor. Whos taxes go to my town. Who participates in the fun little towny events and festivals like the wine walk and the art crawl and "taste of___"

I kind of am at a point where I would rather spend a little more and have a little less. Would I rather have 3 shirts made in China or one shirt made in the US from my local business. i don't need 60 shirts (don't look in my closet please), Ben doesn't need 1,000 blinking musical toys. Dh (despite his protest) doesn't need 20 more Star Wars figures (sigh_ unless you get them at a local hobby shop I guess)

Do you see the dilemma?

It does not need to be all or nothing. I think every little bit helps. Its just being more aware of our consumerism. Maybe this year I get a few more things from a local business AND I do some black Friday shopping. AND small business Saturday. AND I can get a few more things for the needy kid (whos parent might benefit from more domestic job sources)

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