Being of unsound mind and questionable judgment, I ventured into the world of holiday shopping on Black Friday, lured by its enticing name. My shopping quest continued into the following and equally enticingly named days of Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. I believe in doing my part, after all, to support the economy.
And I suppose these shopping day names are better than days named Charge Your Card to the Max Day, People Gone Mad Day, or Test Your Mob Mentality Day. (Just saw a news clip of a fight that broke out among mall shoppers trying to get through a retailer’s door ahead of each other.)
So, not wanting to miss a beat, my Black Friday adventure began at the Verizon store. I’d been given now dubious advice that most people would be out at the big box retailers buying gifty gifts – clothes, toys, jewelry, tools. The telephone store would be slow, with morning or around noon being best. (And then there’s P.T. Barnum’s famous, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”)
The place was popping. The security guard opened the door for me and I approached the check-in person. An hour and a half wait, I was told. Are you kidding? I thought about fleeing. Okay, I signed in. I needed to get the gifting started. But I decided not to hang out at the Verizon Store. I’d multi-task.
I’d have time to run to my local market and get two dishwasher items – Cascade and Lemi Shine (the stuff that makes dishes washed in the dishwasher gleam.) Stuff I can’t buy at my favorite store – Trader Joe’s.
However, I knew something was amok when I couldn’t find a place to park in the market lot. Why? The market was booming. Wait a minute. Shouldn’t everyone have had a frig full of food from the previous day’s Thanksgiving celebration? You know, all those tasty leftovers?
People were in a festive mood. Liquor, wine, beer, sushi, ice cream, chips, premade salads and sandwiches were flying out the door. Game days, tourism, snowbirds, and invading families were the motivators. Finally, I made it through the checkout line, tossed the box of Cascade, etc., in my purse (forgot my bag), and headed back to Verizon.
The security guard opened the door for me again and I asked the check-in person where I was on the list. I was next. Wow! If I’d missed the call-out of my name, it would have gone to the bottom of said list. I made my purchase (not a fast process) and left for DSW shoes and the mall and more fun and games.
Buying locally means supporting Small Business Saturday which found me in Old Town La Quinta the next day for a double treat – the Art on Main Street show plus the lure of the small boutiques. I had a list and I charged into the fray. First I found the artist’s stall I wanted where I checked out an art book I’d heard about, the type of book to bask on your coffee table. Whoops. $375 dollars. Hm-m-m-m. I don’t think so.
From there I was ready for the stores, but not before getting a coffee and muffin at the Old Town coffee shop. Of course, there was a line, but it moved. I went into the stores from there. I picked up a few baubles and checked off names on my list.
In the small shops it was nice to have a salesperson there to help, who knew the merchandise, who was personable as opposed to a big box store where you are more or less a number and a wallet, preferably an open wallet.
Of course, Cyber Monday beats it all – sitting in your pajamas, cup of coffee in hand, typing names like Chico’s, J. Jill, Amazon, and Macy’s into the browser. It’s such a casual and relaxing routine: browse, click on an item, drop the item into your shopping cart, and check out.
But the special day and the real message of this season of named shopping days is #Giving Tuesday – established in 2012 as a day of generosity and philanthropy. I don’t give on this exact Tuesday, but do so closer to Christmas when my friends and I, instead of buying each other gifts, give to a local charity.
The tradition goes like this: we meet at a local restaurant. We each drop the name of a local charity into a small box and have our server draw a name. After the charity name is drawn, we write our checks and the luncheon organizer sends them on to the organization that won the draw.
In the same spirit, my book club members each bring a new, unwrapped book for a particular age range to the December meeting. These books are then donated to a local school library or a charity that has outreach to children.
Giving and volunteering are year long endeavors, but it’s nice to add a little holiday fun to the mix.
And about Black Friday shopping. When all is said and done, I must say, I enjoyed the excitement: making it back to the Verizon store just before my name was called, winding my way through people to find an artist’s stall with its special book, tasting olive oils at the boutique food store.
And feeling the excitement in the air.