6 Nov

Attention Black Friday Shoppers: You are as Unique as Everyone Else

By Libby Esterle, Senior Account Executive

I am not a shopper.  You would be hard-pressed to find me in any kind of department store.  No Macy’s, no Kohl’s, no Dillard’s. In fact, if I can’t find it at TJ Maxx, Plato’s Closet, Sam’s Club or Kroger, I probably don’t need it.

That said, when it comes to Christmas shopping, I used to find myself running around to find the perfect gifts.  Of course, it didn’t help that I tended to limit myself to my four favorite stores mentioned above and would get frustrated when I couldn’t find something in particular.

I had also never embraced online shopping.  Without being able to touch or feel the product to verify quality, try on clothes or shoes to find the right size and having to pay for shipping, I stuck to my local haunts. However, I finally relented last year and hit up Amazon.com and Walmart.com to find some specialty items not available in stores.  Happily, many of my orders also qualified for free shipping, so I am ahead of the game already — with very minimal shopping stress.  Therefore, I simply cannot relate to the crazed mania that is Black Friday.

I love a good bargain as much as the next person. But fighting crowds of rabid shoppers? No thanks. Getting up at three, four, five a.m.? Not since our girls were newborns —and even then it wasn’t voluntary.  And camping out? Not unless it’s in the form of a nice hotel that just happens to be in the wilderness.

It used to be that the die-hard Black Friday shoppers represented a special kind of niche. And even though it’s not my thing, I’ve always kind of respected their dedication to fulfill their loved one’s wish lists. And every year, you see local television stations interviewing shoppers waiting in line to be the first in the door.  To tell their story about why they are there, what they hope to get and why it is so important to them.

However, as Black Friday begins earlier and earlier each year (indeed, many stores open on Thanksgiving night), the concept of “being the first” and “sacrificing for a good deal” is all but dead.  Everyone is doing it. And when the unusual becomes the norm, your audience loses interest.

So, keep it fresh. Different. Exciting. And if you DO decide to venture out, as fashion experts always say — a good bag goes a long way.