Sociology and Shopping. Not Necessarily In That Order.

courtesy chicobasto on sxc

This may sound odd after my counter-cultural “be satisfied with what you have” Thanksgiving aria yesterday, but I usually go out Christmas shopping with my lovely and talented sisters on Black Friday.

[In fact, I’m writing this on Wednesday, because Friday when it posts, I will quite likely be freezing my inordinately large butt off in a Wal-Mart parking lot.]

I told someone the other day that participating in the whole Black Friday madness is sort of the American cultural equivalent of running with the bulls in Pamplona.  I sort of view it as an annual and somewhat dangerous anthropological expedition.

Is it more sociologically valid to get trampled by bulls just for the hell of it, or to be trampled by other shoppers over a $2 pair of children’s Iron Man sweats? I think the jury is still out on that one.

Plus, I do give presents at Christmas, and I am on a limited budget, and I often find I can score one or two things I was going to buy anyway for a bit less than I was going to have to pay for it.

Am I willing to get into a UFC fight with a middle aged woman buzzing on 3 or 4 gas station cappuchinos to get it? No. But I will watch with tremendous interest, and possibly popcorn depending on the store, while someone else does.

Also, I love my sisters. Since mom died, we have found ourselves with something of a dearth of intact holiday traditions. Going out together and braving Black Friday is the one holiday tradition where we’re not all thinking “Mom should be here” because our mom, God love her, wouldn’t have ever been caught dead out on Black Friday.  Truthfully, she was not a big fan of shopping, period, if she could avoid it.

Good luck, fellow bargain hunters, and stay safe.

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