Someone at church was telling me this morning about to the mall on Black Friday, the big shopping day after Thanksgiving. “We got to the mall at 6 a.m.,” Ms. X said enthusiastically, “and already there were no parking places left!” To me, this sounds horrible, but to Ms. X it was all a big adventure. I’m a cheap New England Yankee, I think of shopping as a pragmatic, thrifty venture:– you shop only when it is efficient to do so, and you shop as little as possible in order to spend as little money as possible. I never go shopping on Black Friday because I don’t want to waste time in traffic, and I don’t want to be tempted into buying things I neither want nor need.
But I forget that for many Americans, shopping is an adventure, a hobby, and a sport combined;– and Black Friday is the Olympics, the Everest, the ultimate moment for the serious shopper — the moment you’ve been training for all year long. Judge not someone else’s hobby unless you want your own hobbies judged by them.
Don’t forget for many Americans selling is their job and livelihood too. Without it, not job. I grew up working at my Dad’s Dime Store and Christmas meant a lot of work but it supported our family.
Somehow I like to think that hobbies involve skill. Shopping is pretty skill-free: go out, choose something, give over some currency, get the thing. Done. Is that a skill? A transaction, maybe. But skill???
finding a good deal takes some work… skill…yes
Mrs. X probably acted differently on Black Friday than the behavior she generally exhibits before you. That’s typical of mob mentality. People, like all other animals, behave differently in crowds. Something to think about…
Shopping well definitely takes skill, and I admire people who have the tenacity and self-control to look for bargains and hang in there until they find what they need at the best price. They seldom, however, shop at malls, because the bargains are rarely found there, and the people I know who do the most recreational shopping don’t do much bargain-hunting and tend to buy lots of stuff they don’t need or, often, really want. The acquisition of new stuff is a drug, in my experience.
–Amy, occasional recreational shopper
Bill @ 1 — I sold building materials for 7 years, and was top gross and top net my last two full years in the job — I like sales and am good at it. And, not surprisingly, I like shopping in lumber yards and hardware stores. On the other hand, I was selling building materials in the 1980s, when the big building material chains were starting to move into New England — as a result, I tend to hate shopping in big box stores, malls, and franchises. So yeah, there’s lots of stuff going on in my head and heart when I talk about shopping.
is this your way of saying you aren’t buying me the iphone I asked santa for?
I think shopping definitely takes skill, but I agree with initial angst towards Black Friday. I’m in Canada, and this year was “Black Friday Comes to Canada Year” because the currency is so close to par. But we don’t have Thanksgiving in November. And the way the retailers acted was a bit appalling, considering the violence and trauma that happened when people were killed in stampedes on Black Friay in the US last year.