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He Said/She Said: Black Friday


We are going to try a format called He Said/She Said today. Credit is due, though, as we saw this idea on another blog. Check out Our Freaking Budget. This is a beautifully designed blog by two (now three) obviously beautiful (and now debt-free) people.  We stole their idea without asking, so go visit their blog so they get some traffic from our pilferage.

So, without further adieu,
He Said/She Said:  “Our Kind of Messed Up Relationship with Black Friday,”
or, “We still don’t need a KitchenAid stand mixer”

She (Emily) Said:
I’ve never really understood Black Friday, but I can’t judge it too harshly because I’ve never tried to understand it. I was invited to go with Adam’s mom our first Thanksgiving with them, and I just couldn’t do it. I think they left at 3 or 4 am? I’m just not a morning person! I couldn’t think of anything I wanted more than sleep. 🙂

Also, I think most of the deals are for items I would much rather hunt for at goodwill, garage sales, and on eBay. At rock bottom retail prices, second hand items come in at right around the same price as new, but I feel I’m getting the added benefits of better quality, maybe a more unique design, and not having to worry about kids in China making clothing just for me or retail workers not being able to enjoy thanksgiving with their families. I also don’t have to fight the crowds or hassle with searching out the deals in the papers.

At the same time, you all know I have my own spending vices, they’re just not your typical Black Friday deals. There are a couple stores I like that I might peek at on Friday (anthropologie usually does 40% off their sale merchandise and Gap does 40% off everything- also, Gap has tall clothes for women, YES!!!!) but the stores I want to look at I can quickly shop their inventory from my phone without taking too much of a break from family time. I know I don’t NEED anything so unless there’s a screaming deal I most likely won’t be buying this year. I really am looking forward to spending time with Adam’s dad and stepmom and their big crazy family. They love to play dominos and the kids play basketball and maybe they’ll let me toss the football around the yard, too. Good food, good times. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! Why ruin it by focusing on Black Friday? Ugh!

He (Adam) Said:
I go back and forth on Black Friday. My grandparents on my mother’s side had 3 daughters and the family remained very close while my grandparents were still alive. So after the Thanksgiving festivities, my mom and her sisters got a little crazy every year on Black Friday. I remember one year when my older cousin watched the younger ones while we played Sonic the hedgehog and watched Christmas movies, and I think my mom and aunts were gone shopping from open to close that year. And there was always the ensuing effort to get the kids home but keep the goods hidden, and we always wondered what we’d find under the tree. So along with Thanksgiving and Christmas, even Black Friday evokes feelings of excitement and anticipation for me.

I think one of the defining characteristics of the Millennial generation is that we will be somewhat less materialistic than our parents’ generation was. We have witnessed the boom and bust cycles of the 90s, and especially the 2000s. We have seen our parents chasing and buying and storing all this STUFF  in their McMansions and storage units, and now they have TV shows about people trying to declutter their lives and quit hoarding. I have never seen these shows, but I bet none of the hoarders are Millennials, unless they truly have an illness.

I believe my generation wants something fundamentally different. We certainly have our own major flaws, and this is not a defense of Millennialism, although I could gladly write one. But I sense that we prefer experiences over stuff, we prefer to consume and discard rather than accumulate. We often prefer to rent rather than buy. We share and borrow rather than compete with the Joneses. You’ve certainly noticed the success of subscription-based businesses across the board. Netflix, Hulu, Zipcar, Chocolate/Tea/Bacon of the Month, cloud computing, Spotify, Rent the Runway, etc. We also like new experiences and consumption. We’d often rather go to a concert or to the new restaurant instead of owning a DVD or a Ninja Cooking System. In fact, even our restaurants are transient – the food truck revolution means we can try your fare and you can move on down the road!

So this time of year, my mom always asks me for a Christmas list. And I know deep in my heart that my parents worked very hard in their lives to provide nice things for us, and through some of the financial difficulties they had, saving mega money using coupons and events like Black Friday was the only way they were able to do some things for us. And for my mom, the act of shopping is truly entertainment. So I always struggle to honor my parents by giving a reasonable Christmas list of a few things we can use that will make our home nicer and more comfortable and make our lives easier. But we also want to resist the urge to accumulate things that we won’t really use much and force us to own bigger homes for all our stuff. We stress to our parents that we’d rather see them, spend time together, or play a game with them rather than have them buy us things. But you can’t really change people, so I am still working on my Christmas list and looking at a few Black Friday deals I can circle in the advertisement circulars for my mom to go hunt down.

I am also looking to see if there’s anything we have really wanted that may be more affordable on Black Friday. Except for some tools, and maybe some dishes, I think we are fairly happy. We will wait for you to buy it on Black Friday, and then we will buy it from you at your garage sale in May.



  • Reply scarr |

    This was an awesome post, thanks for sharing! I am in agreement with both of you, I am not a Black Friday-er for many of the reasons Emily listed. I really liked what Adam said about this generation vs. the previous. My parents were never very materialistic; they valued hard work and saving money haha. But my husband’s parents, as much as I love them, are of the opinion that “more is more!” They have so much stuff, SO much stuff in fact that they have 2 storage units to store the overflow, as well as a 4-car garage stuffed the ceiling. I understand that my father-in-law is successful and has every right to enjoy all the things he can afford, but it certainly was a culture shock to me when becoming acquainted with my in-laws. My husband, on the other hand, is interested in minimalism, using and having less because big houses mean more things and more things means more work to pay for them and more wasted time organizing them. So I feel what you said is very relevant.

  • Reply Cathy C. |

    I don’t do Black Friday either, mainly because I refuse to get up that early and I get skeeved out being around that many people (many of whom are sick this time of year). I’ve already found all my good deals on Amazon this year and Christmas shopping is done.

    I know there’s some pretty strong feelings out there about businesses being open on Thanksgiving, but here’s my .02:
    I’ve got a 20 year old son whose hours are being cut at work along with everyone else’s and only a few have the opportunity to work Thanksgiving Day at time and a half. He didn’t make the schedule and he’s more than a little upset. There are a lot of people out there fighting for these hours to receive holiday pay. Not everyone working on Thanksgiving Day is upset about it. In fact, I’d say a lot are quite happy about it.

    As far as big houses go, there are more reasons for people to buy a big house than hoarding tons of stuff and being gluttonous consumers. We built a rather large house anticipating that our son would be forced to live at home longer than any of us would necessarily prefer due to lack of jobs out there paying a liveable income. Very glad we did, as he is still at home and will be for quite some time.

    We are the generation caught in the middle. Our parents are aging and may need to move in with us some time in the future, while our son is still needing a place to live. More and more large home purchases are happening nowadays due to multi-generational living situations.

  • Reply Alex |

    Hi Adam, I love the idea you have shared in this article. I especially liked the part about- “He Said/She Said”. Seems like a tough task but I am going to give it a try and see if I can get some good Looking forward to see more awesome idea from you.

  • Reply Jen from Boston |

    “We still don’t need a KitchenAid stand mixer”

    Well, if you ever buy one you should run the mixer once a month to stir up the lubricating grease inside the gear box. If you don’t, then like me you will have to hunt for a repairman who still fixed small appliances because the grease will have started to leak out onto the beater. And you should store the mixer someplace cool.

    “…second hand items come in at right around the same price as new, but I feel I’m getting the added benefits of better quality…”

    Yes!! The quality of certain brands has decreased greatly since my grandparents’ time 🙁 About ten years ago I bought a set of copper-bottom Revere Ware from Kohl’s. A few years later my grandmother died so I got some of her Revere Ware pots. The quality difference was obvious!! Her Revere Ware, which was made in the US, had thicker steel and felt more solid. In contrast, my set, made in Singapore, was lighter and not as good quality. I’ve also noticed since then that Revere Ware is now sold in budget venues, like the grocery store. I think the quality is still good enough, but it’s not the same as it used to be.

  • Reply Thea |

    I’m a goodwill and yard sale girl!! Love, love that line about letting others buy something in Nov and you buying it in May!! Love, love!

So, what do you think ?