I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lessons From Black Friday

Every Black Friday, my family would head a couple hours south to one of the largest indoor outlet malls in America. We’d eat an early lunch, circle the parking lot a few times looking for a space, arrange a meeting time, and head into mass chaos.

It was a blast.
Crazy, I know. I don’t even like crowds! But for some reason, on this day, I always managed to dart through the sea of people, zero in on the best deals, lug bags heavier than the Thanksgiving turkey, spend all the cash in my wallet, and love every minute of it.

This year I shopped locally…and shopped so much that I woke up sore on Saturday. (Come to think of it, I can still feel it a little in my left arm.) Many of you, I’m sure, are shaking your head, and knocking off a few points from my sanity chart. But even for you, I’m sure there are lessons to be learned from the most-talked about shopping day of the year.
1. Do your research.

Thunk. Hear that? It’s the sound of the Thanksgiving Day newspaper...if there actually is a paper under all those ads. But that's okay. They're essential for a successful mission. :) I map out a plan of action when it comes to shopping. Bell-ringers, coupons, bonus buys…Gotta keep all those straight, along with what store has the best price for that perfect gift. Without those ads, I’d be lost. My shopping would take three times as long, which means I would have arrived back home sometime…yesterday?

2. Waiting is a whole lot more fun with friends.

I’m a loner when it comes to shopping. But I met up with a friend at Kohls…just in time to wait together in the longest line of the day. Instead of standing there, shuffling forward and wishing I’d brought my Kindle, I laughed with my friend as her daughter told me for the twelfth time about her new nightgown with the matching pjs for her doll.
3. Enjoy the moment! The journey itself is part of the fun.

Last year I spent Thanksgiving at my parents’ home…which meant I could look through the trees and across the highway to a Walmart. So when most of the family was still awake near midnight, we decided to pile in the van and see what damage we could do. I think I walked away with only a cheap mp3 player, after spending way too much time in line. But it was worth it. Not because I got an amazing deal, but just to people watch. Wow. We were there when the clock struck twelve, and it was a feeding frenzy in the electronics section. A sight to behold. And a fun memory we now share.

Your turn! Need any help applying these to the writing life? Anyone have another lesson to share from Black Friday?

I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for you!

~ Jenness Walker

18 comments:

  1. My husband will go anywhere with me, stand in any line no matter how long. But I wanted to shop for him. So I went out solo on Thanksgiving evening to Target, as mine opened at 9 p.m. But the line wrapping completely down two sides of the building deterred me--perhaps because I didn't have a friend to keep me company. I circled around the parking lot and headed home because those hundreds of people in line ahead of me were sure to buy the items I wanted.

    I'm glad you got your deals and had fun doing it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean! I didn't brave the evening/late-night crowds this year. I think somehow I timed it right to be between the waves of shoppers.
      Hope you find something amazing for your sweet husband!

      Delete
  2. You and I have the same game plan, Jenness. For a number of years now, my husband and I have a day-long date and purchase almost all of our Chrismtas gifts. It's fun, and we also love the people watching. We got some good deals this year. We hit Target at about 9:30 Thursday night, on our way home from Thanksgiving supper and purchased a couple of items we wanted. We waited until the next morning to do the rest of our shopping.

    Great analogy to the writing life. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jeanne.
      Glad I'm among like-minded people. :-) Although I might have to know down your sanity points a little for taking your husband. lol. My trip would have been a lot shorter if I'd taken mine. :-)

      Delete
    2. Laughing out loud, Jenness. :) My honey is wonderful enough to actually stand in that long line at Kohls while I run around like a mad woman collecting the things we want to get there. Now THAT'S love. :)

      Delete
    3. Nice. Kudos to him. :-)

      Delete
  3. Jenness,
    I'm not that brave. I went one year with my siblings and became the designated person to stand in line. I found a book I wanted to read, stood in line with the cart and my family came by and put stuff in it. I read half the book in line and by the time I got ready to cash out, the buggy was overflowing. Normally I look at the sales ad with all of my sil's on Thanksgiving day, see whose going to shop and give 'em the cash to go for me. :0)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Sounds like you have a good plan, too!

      Delete
  4. For the past two years, I've shopped online. This year I did something slightly different because of something I saw pinned on Pinterest. I gave Hubby and our boys papers with 4 categories--Something You Want, Something You Need, Something to Wear, Something to Read. Then I gave them three choices. They had to turn their lists in by Thanksgiving morning or face "Mom's Choice" for gifts. My shopping was done so quickly because I searched online for the best deals for the items on their lists. I still have to do stocking stuffers, but that's not a big deal. I did hit a couple of stores Black Friday evening to pick up things I couldn't get online. I'm thrilled to be 99% done with Christmas shopping already. Now I can focus on more important things during the season...like Jesus :D

    And yes, these lessons do tie into writing--research is critical from determining the right agent, publishing house, and having solid facts in your work, having friends to encourage and pray with you during those waiting times is so important, and finally enjoying the moment is essential. Otherwise you risk missing out on present blessings!!

    Great post, JP!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, Pinterest...Much love. :-)

      You've got me beat at 99%, although I'm close. Well, sort of. I was actually going to make a gift and then chickened out. :-)

      Thanks, Lisa!

      Delete
  5. Sounds like you wisely made it fun, Jenness, and thankf for the tips. Thanks also for the blog.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Haha, I haven't done true crack-of-dawn Black Friday shopping for a few years, but my sister and I did venture out this past Friday later in the morning. We had a blast and the crowds weren't even that bad that late in the day. Some of the stores looked like they'd been trashed though...which was both hilarious, but also sobering if we thought too hard about it. :)

    But yeah, sometimes it's fun just to go and watch people. Once I did that with my parents and a couple siblings...we sat in Starbucks in Target and watched people race around. Good times. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you missed the crowds! Great deals AND short lines--now that's the way to do it. :-)

      Delete
  7. I braved Black Friday a few years ago with my daughter, but the only shopping I've done so far this year has been online. I'm still PONDERING over my gifts for most of the family members.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Teri, maybe you could ponder a couple of mine for me. :-) The hardest have been left for last. Sigh.

      Delete
  8. Ah, Jenness, this year was the first time in 15 years that I didn't go shopping with my sister on Black Friday. It's a tradition with us. But this year I went to my daughter's bon-voyage bonfire. She's moving to Florida and I'll have to fly to see her now. And got the stomach flu. My sister says it's what happens when you break tradition. lol
    Great post and great analogy about writing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Pat.
      That sounds like fun. Except the flu part, of course. I got sick the one time my family ate out on Thanksgiving, so your sister might be on to something.

      Delete