To Shop or Not to Shop?

November 23rd, 2012

With the recent election, I’m forced to confront a new frugality.  That’s really a good thing.  Over the years, I’ve bought a lot of things I really don’t need.

My extensive scrapbooking collection is a good example.  If you’re one of those people who actually make scrapbooks, it’s a dream.  There isn’t a jagged or wavy edge I can’t cut thanks to my collection of scrapbooking scissors.  If I knew how to write in calligraphy, I own every imaginable pen to do just that.  My sticker and page collection is to die for.  It includes stickers for every milestone you can imagine.  Unfortunately, because I’ve failed to ever make a single scrapbook page, all the babies first birthday, visit with Santa etc., stuff will probably have to wait until I have grandchildren.

Yesterday, as stores began opening for Black Friday sales on Thursday, I asked my oldest son, “What’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever bought?”

Without hesitation, he pointed to an attractive baker’s rack in the kitchen housing a collection of cookbooks Julia Child would have envied.

“You don’t cook,” he replied.

Granted, I don’t cook much (which is being generous).  My father noted that if the phone service in our house went out, we’d probably starve.  That’s obviously an exaggeration because PB&J sandwiches and cereal are always an option.

My son didn’t just leave it there.

“Every Christmas,” he continued, “I get something you gave me the year before.  I never know what to say because I like it, and I don’t want to hurt your feelings. I also have several identical shirts in my closet.”

He could tell I was getting a little upset by all the honesty, so he tried to cheer me up.

“The nice thing,” he added, “I never have to go shopping for anything.  It’s usually somewhere around the house.  Like yesterday, I needed an Ipad case, and I found two of them lying around.”

It couldn’t be all that bad, I thought, so I decided to ask a friend.

That didn’t help.

“Remember the time your son was going on a camping trip and you went to REI and bought  everything for every kind of camping imaginable and then he ended up not going anyway?” she asked,  “Also, there was that tepee you bought at the Junior League Christmas Bazaar.”

I didn’t bother asking my youngest son because he’s always dragging the Abraham Lincoln walking stick through the house which is probably one of the biggest reminders of conspicuous consumption I own.

On this Black Friday, not shopping is going to be very tough, particularly for a champion shopper like me.

For those of you brave enough to go out there and risk your lives fighting for parking spaces and walking through an endless queue at Toys R Us to save a couple of bucks on a Barbie doll, know that I’ll be with you in spirit, sitting in my tepee scrapbooking.




One Comment

  1. Michael Guy
    Posted Nov 24 2012 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    I can say that I am a shopping Veteran and now have 2012 safely stowed under my belt. Having said that, as I read your post, I remembered back into my earlier years. I used to buy a lot more things that I did not need..and had 2 or 3 extras laying around the house like you. Today however, I can honestly say that is much less of a problem. It was not the economy that reined me in. It was my parents. They tend to be pack-rats. And after each visit with them…something in my house was getting thrown away.
    I eventually reached a point that I would focus on what I really needed, not solely the latest, greatest deal.
    Having said that…more tools for your hobby..not really ever a waste…until it gets so cluttered you can never find what you need. Then your problem is only that you do not have enough storage and organization.

    If I may be so bold as to make a suggestion for anybody interested….here are a couple of ideas to try.
    With the internet and deal websites, you now can usually see all the ads for stores participating in BF days…and even weeks before Black Friday. You can take the time to see if you already have 3 of the great deal you are looking at.
    Also, with online shopping, you may not have to fight the crowds to get that great deal any longer. I popped online during Thanksgiving Eve and saw the Black Friday deals were live for a particular tool that I wanted. When I sauntered into the store at noon on Black Friday to pick it up, I was told that the ones on the floor sold out in under 2 minutes when their doors opened at 5am. But I was still walking out the door with my deal. I did not lose any sleep and did not wait in any lines. Now THAT is the way to shop on BF.
    Good or bad..Black Friday is now a yearly event.
    This year, I decided to allow my 10 year old son to join in with me. We set up some rules ahead of time and made a game of it. We were selective in what stores we shopped. BestBuy?..not hardly.. We were not going to any stores that had people camping out over 24 hours in advance. There are more reasonable stores to shop on BF. Oddly enough, Target and Walmart can both make this list. Dicks Sporting goods, Lowes, Home Depot, Gamsestop, etc..are all good candidates as well. Of course I suppose that list changes depending on what area you live. We could each select one or two thing we were getting. And we would work as a team. Truthfully, there is so much a 10 year old can do to compete in Black Friday shopping…but that is not really the purpose now is it? Black Friday turned into breakfast, an hour in the car talking and catching up while we waited for the store to open….. and an overall fun, bonding experience that he is looking forward to doing again next year.
    BTW…do you realize how easy it is to know what to buy somebody for Christmas when you go to Black Friday with them?