OPINION COLUMNS

The battle of ‘Black Friday’

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, November 27, 2013

One of the things I love about my wife is she will sometimes ask me questions that seem to come out of the blue and catch me off-guard.

As a reporter, I can definitely appreciate that.

Brian Knox

Brian Knox

And so it was one day last week as we were driving to pick up the kids from school that she asked, “What do you think about Black Friday?”

Although I wasn’t expecting that question, I had a quick answer.

“I try to avoid it like the Black Plague.”

I don’t really care for shopping. Never have. I mean, I do it, because you have to, but it’s not like I wake up on a Saturday and say, “Family, let’s go shopping!”

And that’s just on some random weekend in, say, June, when you could expect the average number of people shopping at the mall or shopping strips or local department stores and so forth.

You can imagine that if I don’t get excited to go shopping on an average summer weekend, I really don’t have any interest in getting up early (something that ranks even lower than shopping on my “favorite things” list), standing in lines and then elbowing my way to whatever gadget is priced ridiculously low and making my way to the checkout with my “prize.”

But moments after I had made my little “Black Plague” reference to my wife, I realized one of the reasons I don’t engage in Black Friday is because as a reporter with a Friday press deadline, I’ve always had to work the day after Thanksgiving. In other words, it’s nothing I’ve ever even considered.

This year, however, I’m taking the day after Thanksgiving off. That realization set off a little voice inside my head I had never heard before.

Inner voice: “You know, if you wanted to, you might be able to get a good deal on …” which then turned my mind into one of those thought bubbles where images start popping to the surface as if flipping through the pages of a catalog.

Rather than sugarplums dancing through my head, I saw iPads and flat screen televisions and gaming systems.

But I don’t need those things, the rational side of my brain cried out.

Still, it was tempting fruit.

I was flipping through the channels one night this week, and I came across Jimmy Kimmel who was showing one of his regular montages of television news reporters all saying the same exact things. In this case it was “Brown Thursday,” apparently the new name for stores that can’t wait until Friday to open their doors to deal-hungry shoppers.

As the video ended, Kimmel exclaimed, “No, it’s not Brown Thursday. It’s called Thanksgiving!”

That reminded me of one of the main reasons I’ve never thought highly of Black Friday. A day after giving thanks for what we have, how can we turn around and say, “That’s all good, but I really need this!”

I understand the need for Black Friday, especially for the economy. Retailers have no choice but to slash their prices and throw open their doors (some very early) to kick off the Christmas shopping season.

You’ve got to draw the line somewhere, though, don’t you? Brown Thursday? What’s next? Tan Wednesday?

I haven’t decided yet if I’ll head out to see what all the Black Friday fuss is about in a couple of days.

As for Brown Thursday, I think I’ll stick with shades of brown that come with a roasted turkey and maybe a football.

Inner voice: “But that football really would look good on a new high-definition television, wouldn’t it?”

If you’ll excuse me, I think I need to check out some of those Black Friday deals now.

Brian Knox is special projects manager for the Messenger.

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