Are We United in Buying Things, or Are We United in Thanks on Thanksgiving Day? – Frugal Confessions

Are We United in Buying Things, or Are We United in Thanks on Thanksgiving Day?

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!!!!!

16 comments… add one

  • Olivia

    I don’t like shopping retail under the best of circumstances. Black Friday seems like sheer madness. As most of our family live distances away we have to consider mailing time. Many of our gifts are homemade or great bargains snagged through out the year. They’re done. Everything’s nearly ready to be mailed on Saturday. Thanksgiving will be time spent quietly with a few people. Then I can use December for what’s really important. Cookie baking (:-D), hanging out with the kids, and celebrating Christmas day.

  • I’m sure you can find comparable (if not as good) deals online. No need to stand in the cold the night of Thanksgiving. My fiance also really wants a TV… we will get it… one day!
    Well Heeled Blog recently posted..Do We Need a Prenup? 7 Questions You Should Ask Yourself

    • I agree with you. I think this consumerism is taking hold and tearing us apart. It’s sick. It’s definitely not worth it. I want a TV, but I’m not willing to sacrifice my time with my loved ones for material crap. I feel like Black Friday also creates in you this sheer frenzy—like you HAVE to go…even if you don’t need anything. It’s a sick consumerist treadmill that I don’t plan to get on.
      Jon – Free Money Wisdom recently posted..Get $150 in Bonus Cash for the Holidays with the Discover More Card

  • Black Friday signals the start of the Holiday shopping season. I think there is a desire by retailers to start it earlier with sales. Now it is starting on Thanksgiving!
    Krantcents recently posted..Planning for Your Next Career

  • It’s really too bad that for many, the entire focus of this holiday has shifted towards shopping. I think retailers are increasingly desperate so they are trying to get extra sales by starting early. And consumers are so sucked into what everyone else is doing (i.e. If I don’t go all the good deals will be gone) so they go along with it. On top of that, it sends a horrible message to our youngsters.
    thefrugallery recently posted..Final Chance to Grab a $25 Restaurant.com Gift Certificate for $2!

  • Carrie

    My husband and I were just discussing this disturbing trend. We both agreed that it’s up to the consumer to say “No, we won’t do it”. The stores really seem to have to do it to stay one ahead of the competition and that, in turn, looks out for the jobs of its employees and, of course, its profit margin.

    Personally, I wouldn’t be caught dead shopping on Black Friday or anytime this weekend. My husband and I actually did a lot of our Christmas shopping last Friday. I just hate to shop, period, so I’ve done a lot of mine online this year. I know some people thrive on the “festive” crowded atmosphere but not me. I will be home reading, watching movies and putting out Christmas decorations while my husband and sons go hunting.

  • I never really understood the whole Black Friday concept. I don’t have a problem standing in line…for a concert, game, or show, not to go shopping. I’ll stick to cyber Monday or two weeks before Christmas like I usually do. It’s less stressful.
    JP @ Novel Investor recently posted..We Need U.S. Debt, Just Not All Of It

  • I’m not into the whole Black Friday thing for many reasons. It’s a bit of a shame that basically the day after Thanksgiving it’s all about a spending spree.

    I bet you can find some good deals online for TVs. Maybe not the same you’d get if you waited in line at 8pm, but I’m sure there are sales.
    Jeffrey Trull recently posted..Living Without Credit Cards – Update

  • Mid Life Miser

    I agree. Let Friday be for shopping and Thursday for being a day of thanks and time with family/loved ones.

  • I’d like to think that we’re united in giving and in realizing thanks for what we have. I’ll save the consumerism for the grocery store.
    101 Centavos recently posted..GET RICH WITH PENNY MINING STOCKS!! (not really, it’s just this week’s roundup of worthwhile links)

  • A family should always gather on a Thanksgiving! Well, as for me, I’ve always been a fan of Black Fridays haha! I actually enjoy standing in line with other people who in the end, become my friends. It’s my tradition every year with my husband. We get to purchase items at a very low price. Thanks for sharing! :)
    Angel Collins recently posted..Meet the Kabuki Brushes: Buff Kabuki!

    • FruGal

      It sounds like fun with your husband! That is spending time together as well:). Did you go out on Thanksgiving night or in the wee morning hours this year?

  • I spent too much of my Thanksgiving Day and the day after Thanksgiving in stores with my brother’s girlfriend. I found a few deals that I’m pretty sure weren’t worth me giving up hours of my time. I was so exhausted I woke up late Black Friday morning and missed the awesome deals that I actually wanted to take advantage of like a 40 inch flat screen TV for $200 and a laptop for under $250. Never again!
    Shawanda @ You Have More Than You Think recently posted..Who Says You Can’t Pay Cash for a House?

    • FruGal

      Oh no!!! I am sorry to hear that. At least you gave it a shot and know what to do for next year.

  • I actually don’t understand the trend considering the rise in Cyber Monday! Just wait a few days and it will be shipped to your house lol
    Evan recently posted..My Thanksgiving Weekend

    • FruGal

      And a lot of stores offered free shipping this year with no minimums!!

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