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Thinking Ahead: To Black Friday Shop? Or... NOT!?

Thinking Ahead: To Black Friday Shop? Or... NOT!?

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Written by: Jen Johnson

My kids haven't even settled on Halloween costumes, yet Black Friday sale possibilities and hot toy lists are already trending. Salesforce.com just predicted that Black Friday this year will be the busiest online shopping day in U.S history. It’s been my experience that there are two kinds of people in the world; those who LOVE Black Friday shopping, and those who hate it. Let’s discuss.

On one side, people say heading to stores pulls them away from their families, who might otherwise spend time together for the long Thanksgiving weekend. To that I say it actually brings my family TOGETHER. My sister and I live eight hours apart, and both have kids. When we head out for Black Friday, we make it an event. We leave the cousins at home together to play, get delicious lattes, spend time laughing at silly Christmas socks that cost $1, sing along to Pentatonix, and get hours of time together waiting in line…talking non-stop about our lives. We aren’t the people there fighting over the three available televisions, we’re the odd ones who couldn’t care less about the deals. We’re there to talk, and laugh, and be the sisters we only get to be a few times a year.

Some say Black Friday is terrible because of the brawls, the bad attitudes, and greedy people minimalizing the true meaning of Christmas. But it’s been my experience (and I’ve been doing this every year for a LONG time), that it can bring out the BEST in people. A couple years ago, while we were waiting in line at Kohls, I heard the couple behind me say they didn’t have any coupons. What?? Being the frugal, prepared momma that I am, I immediately passed my extras back to them. They did seem a bit surprised that in the midst of Black Friday madness, a stranger would be helpful, but that’s not the first friendship I’ve formed in line. Just last year, I sadly had to make the trek out by myself (yikes!), but quickly made friends with the sweet women behind me in line who had matching Black Friday t-shirts (denoting their status-team captain etc.). We took pictures together, talked about the goodies we scored, and even held each other’s places in line to make last minute grabs. Fellowship, sharing, generosity…my view of Black Friday is quite different than the videos that depict a much more violent scene.

Some say Black Friday isn’t fair to the people who have to work extra hours just so others can shop. Valid point. I’ve been there. All through my 20s/early 30s, I was the “holiday” person. All the superiors took those days off, so not only did I work, but usually did double shifts to help cover. Maybe I just felt I was “paying my dues”, but I generally had a good attitude about it because we got paid double overtime. I understand that’s not always the case. I acknowledge the argument.

Will I scour endless online ads and lists, detailing my every move to maximize my Black Friday shopping haul? No. But I WILL get my sister’s favorite caramel macchiato, some holiday music (new Gwen Stefani anyone??), and comfy shoes. We’ve got some talkin’ to do.

Jen Johnson co-hosts The Show with Jen and Truta on KC102.1 in Kansas City weekday mornings from 6-10 am. She lives in Overland Park with her husband and two daughters (ages 9 and 7). Random facts about Jen: she was an extra in the movie Derailed (with Jennifer Aniston), she lived in Alaska for a summer, she was a traffic reporter for NBC in Chicago, and she tore her ACL playing basketball in college. She’s passionate about fund-raising and participating in Walk MS (multiple sclerosis), Cure SMA’s (spinal muscular atrophy) Walk-n-Roll, and raising money for Variety KC. Twitter/Instagram @jenkc1021

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