Paul has wanted to purchase a flat screen television for two years now. I have to admit that I have no real desire for one. There are two things that I like about flat screen televisions: the amazing definition and vibrancy of colors on Planet Earth, Blue Earth, and other neat shows, and being able to mount the unit on a wall so that they take up less space. But these two positives are not enough for me to choose to prioritize a large chunk of money towards the purchase of one. However, Paul has diligently and patiently waited for two years, prices have dropped since 2005, we are both gainfully employed, we’ve built up a fully stocked emergency fund, and we are out of non-mortgage debt—who am I to say no now?
I still do not want to pay full price for one and thought I had found the perfect deal to be able to surprise Paul on Christmas day: a 40” Toshiba LCD HDTV for $380 at Best Buy. But when I reached the store it turned out that I had missed the sale by a few days. The sales associate felt bad about it, and with a wink and a nudge-nudge he confided to me that at midnight on Thanksgiving Day I could grab a flat screen television for an incredible $199. He even suggested that I stand in line at about 8:00 p.m. to increase my odds of scoring one of the coveted 30 his store will have. I thought about it for a moment, me leaving whatever warm and cozy home I am in surrounded by family to stand outside on the cold cement sidewalk with the glow of Best Buy’s fluorescent lights on my face. It took about half of that moment to figure out that there was no way I would do that. I thanked him and left.
There is a growing trend in consumerism that is making me uneasy: the Black Friday selling and buying frenzy is encroaching on Thanksgiving Day. Instead of each of these days getting their own time to shine—a day centered around friends, family, and food, and then a day centered around incredible deals—an evening of full bellies, love, and laughter could now be spent standing in a line with hundreds of other cold, impatient people to try and score a flat screen for $199. This year Best Buy, Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Target will be opening at midnight on Thanksgiving Day. True, midnight is technically the next day, but in order to score the incredible deals people will need to do something crazy—like eat Thanksgiving meal, watch a football game, gather in a living room for an hour, and then haul off to stand in line at around 8:00 p.m. when all of the other people trying to score a deal will be out and about. If the stores continued to open at 4:00 a.m. or so on Black Friday, then at least everyone would get the entire evening to spend with family and friends. This trend appears to only be getting worse; as one competitor announces it will be opening its doors at midnight, the others must follow suit to not lose consumer dollars.
With more stores rolling out Black Friday deals at midnight on Thanksgiving Day, I thought I should ask: are we united in buying things or are we united in Thanks?
What are your thoughts?
P.S. Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!