Freaky Friday

My children used to think that it was exciting to get up at 4 a.m. and go out shopping on so-called, “Black Friday,” the day apparently consecrated to holiday sales.

Then, one of my daughters saw a stampede at an electronics store in which a woman’s leg was broken – and that put a stop to that. “Black Friday” has an unintended and unsavory eponymous reputation nowadays because of the mayhem that can break out when people make war over who rightfully can claim the last deeply discounted flatscreen TV.

All of this prompts the question as to why people consider it unseemly to do their holiday shopping year round, at times when they may have gone to diverting and unusual places where diverting and unusual things were for sale – rather than waiting until the last days to fight over a space heater at a box store five miles from their homes.

As one who does not go to stores at all (in part because I don’t want to be around other people or confused by seeing the same item in ten different colors), the idea of a retail siege is deeply anathema. I vividly remember my last foray. I gave in to my husband’s pleas for me to go and look at stoves, only to lose the stove I was in the process of buying when a salesperson wheeled it away and sold it to someone else. 

I would love it if every gift I gave or received was handmade or handwritten. But since I am no better able to make a gift, even a potholder from a kit, than I was at the age of seven, this is no solution. Further, I am horrified by the prospect of stockings filled with gift cards. I love giving gifts and yet have acute mall-a-phobia. I’m why they invented Etsy. – JM

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