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Leigh Hamrick: No Black Friday, no regrets

December 04, 2009|By LEIGH HAMRICK / Special to The Herald-Mail

It's been a week since the official Christmas shopping season began on Black Friday. I wasn't a part of the crowds. And I don't regret it.

I have never in my life gone shopping on Black Friday. Is that hard to believe? It shouldn't be. I'm only 30, after all. I've got plenty of years left to make dire shopping mistakes.

I may yet one day join the masses who park in the woods half a mile away from the mall because the lots are full at 4 o'clock in the morning, the army of shoppers armed with pillow, blanket and coffee, eyes trained upon the door of the mall for any subtle movement from within.

I may be tempted one day to do as my sister's friend did one Black Friday, when there was something so phenomenally important on sale that she bought it with the money she'd set aside for her monthly electricity bill. I'm sure she found tremendous comfort in knowing she grabbed it before three dozen other women could lay their hands on it, and was able to emerge from the store victorious.

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I just hope whatever it was came with batteries because she subsequently had her electricity turned off.

I may be tempted, like my sister, to join the hordes thronged in front of the Toys "R" Us, lying in wait for the poor soul in charge of unlocking the doors, and then to rejoin them again in lines that last for hours, knowing with peaceful surety that I've done it all in the name of saving money.

If only she'd known then that the sale lasted all weekend.

I've been told that my disinterest in going shopping on Black Friday is based on groundless prejudice. I've been assured that the atmosphere is festive. That the shoppers are festive, though perhaps massed in such numbers that a mild disagreement between two elderly women in the hosiery department of J.C. Penney could start a riot that would end the world.

My husband did tell me of a heartwarming day of bonding he experienced many years ago when he went shopping with his mother on Black Friday.

His mom had taken him to Roses. I don't know if Washington County-area readers have ever heard of Roses. If you aren't over 30 and have never lived farther south than North Carolina, then you probably haven't.

Roses chose Black Friday to set up demonstration booths for their products. (As if an incentive was needed!) Featured at a podium with a little blue light were ginsu knives, Tupperware, even garbage bags. When the item on display was switched to another item, the blue light would blink and the announcer would come over the loud speaker: "Act now, and the first 40 customers to buy these kitchen shears will get a set of measuring cups for free!"

-- Leigh Hamrick is a freelance writer and mother who raises a son, a daughter and a husband in Frederick County, Md.

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