In Defense of Black Friday

Planning and executing trips to big box stores was a thrilling late-night pursuit.

Black Friday? Isn’t that passé? Now we have Amazon Prime and Cyber Monday. And besides, I’m over braving the elements late at night for a flat-screen TV or getting kicked in the shins for a deeply discounted microwave.

Back when stores opened at midnight on Black Friday, we’d use our planning-and-strategy sessions as an excuse to cut Thanksgiving gatherings short. Our aunts would cheer us on: “Go get those deals!”

Black Friday shopping for my 20-something friends was serious business, so we’d first grab a nap to recharge. Those who were strongest then headed to Best Buy to acquire the heavier appliances and electronics. The most cunning maneuvered their way through Target, and rookies were tasked with snagging low-level door-buster fare like DVDs.

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An earlier start time is now the norm. Some BF shamers bemoan shoppers patronizing stores at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, but businesses love it. Now, I’m no longer in a door-bustin’ rush. I take my post-turkey nap and wait until the initial frenzy dies down before heading out. Many of my spots are open until midnight, which gives me just enough time to pick up what I’ve already scoped out the BF ads released a month in advance.

While my Black Friday mentality has changed, it still combines all the things I love about shopping: the thrill of the hunt, the classic brick-and-mortar stores, the freedom. I’ve tried to limit my big-box and mall shopping to Thanksgiving night. In the remaining weeks leading up to Christmas, I’m “all for small.” Having a defined strategy for the holidays isn’t just about saving time and supporting local businesses—it’s about maintaining my sanity, too.

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