Black Friday: American consumerism at its greatestWritten by Shannon Szyperski | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It starts the night before, just as we’ve eaten all we can eat, watched all of the football we can watch and contemplated all that we are thankful for. As soon as each Thanksgiving ritual has been satisfied, it is time to place our American duty of holiday consumerism at the forefront. It’s tradition.
My sister, Michelle, and I transform into giddy school girls as soon as we realize that the appropriate time has come to grab our pens and paper to create our all-important list of must-have Black Friday sale items and map our shopping route. We then make a pact with one another that this will be the year that we will break our 5 a.m. out-the-door record. As we say our goodbyes, we can hardly contain our excitement for the day that is to follow. We part with the now-obligatory “See you in a few hours!”
Although I am already semi-awake as the alarm clock lets me know our agreed-upon wake-up hour has arrived, I can’t help but reset it at least two times in grasping for a few more minutes of pre-shopping rest. The night’s sleep is never a good one. It is just like the night before vacation, when you are so adrenalized about the fun you’ll have and so concerned about waking late and missing even a minute of it that you spend the whole time only half asleep. Any dreams you do manage to have are about the big day ahead, so you wake up feeling like you’ve already lived it. It’s hard to pull yourself out of bed for something you think you may have already done.
I take the phone into the bathroom with me in making sure that I don’t miss my sister’s announcement that she is showered and on her way to pick me up. Either pre-or post-call I quickly shower myself while I mentally navigate the day’s game plan. No time for leg shaving today; it’s shampoo, conditioner and quickly dressed.
Although we never seem to manage to get going as early as we always promise each other we will, we always seem to manage to be synchronized in the time we actually do get ourselves ready. I think we each secretly have no desire to stand in the freezing cold just waiting for a store to open its doors. For my sister and me, it’s not about snagging one or two unbelievably priced items.
What it is about is experiencing an unbridled enthusiasm we seldom take occasion to enjoy in adulthood. Each day after Thanksgiving, Michelle and I get to be little sisters again. We exuberantly gather our treasures in tandem as if we are 4 years old and playing store. Our lunch break (taken about 10 a.m. because this seems to be the suitable time when you have been shopping since 5 a.m.) is a childhood tea party, though the fare is thankfully now a few steps above water and saltines. The whole day is a feeding off of the energy of all of those other grown-up kids around us. It feels like the exhilaration of morning recess the first time fall puts a nip in the air.
Sure, there are those scrooges here and there are complaining that the item they wanted is already gone or that the lines are just too long.
As odd as it sounds in light of all of the commotion and the chaos, Black Friday is my one day away. It is literally the only day of the year I have more than a few hours to myself.
When you are home with small children, there is no quiet drive to and from work. A 3-year-old almost always supervises bathroom breaks. E-mails are often typed awkwardly and somewhat blindly around the little companion on your lap.
Black Friday is my day off. It is the one day I am up early enough to actually circumvent my children’s internal “mom is awake” alert. I actually shower without having the bathroom door flung open and hearing a voice say, “I want to shower, too” just as I see a leg straddling the tub. It is the one day I eat my entire lunch without being interrupted for another drink, a little more food or squeals of “I don’t like this.” It is my one day to just be a sister and get as close as I can get to being a kid again myself.
Shannon Szyperski and her husband Michael are raising two children in Sylvania. E-mail her at email@example.com.