It’s my very own tradition to peruse the sales ads that come with the Thanksgiving Day newspaper while lying on my aunt’s couch after consuming more turkey, stuffing, and green bean casserole than any human should. I look forward to Black Friday every year, which, in the United States, is the day after Thanksgiving when retail stores open as early as midnight with some of the biggest sales of the year. Many people use this day to buy Christmas gifts or set up tents outside the store before it opens to have the chance to purchase a discounted computer or television. People watching is one of my favorite things to do, so for me, Black Friday is more about interacting with human beings than buying clothes and electronics. I will admit, though, that an inexpensive 4 or 8 GB flash drive is always super appealing. You can never have too many of those, right?
This year, I decided to drive back to campus to pick Paul and Adam (two of my roommates) up and take them out. I’m lucky to attend college close enough to home that I’m able to do things like this during breaks from school. Now, home is only a little more than a half hour away from campus, but the mall we were planning to go to opened at 4 AM. The simple act of waking up at 2:30 AM after going to bed at 8 PM, let alone to drive on a barren highway, was disconcerting to say the least. It was pitch black, the roads were empty, and I felt out of place on the highway. It also felt strange pulling up to Quincy House (my dormitory building) in the middle of the night…to pick my roommates up…to go shopping. Bizarre.
We started out at the mall, and it was shocking to see how many cars and people were out that early. The three of us went store to store, with Adam making the first purchase of the morning: two polos for under $20 total. Nice! Normally, we’re all pretty frugal with our money. Three of my five roommates work part-time jobs (I give tours of our beautiful campus and love every second of it!), but I think Black Friday is one day of the year that it is acceptable to splurge a bit. Around 6 AM, the sun was finally up, and we drove to an electronics store. By 6:50 AM, we were at a department store that opened at 7 AM. The three of us waited outside in the company of about 20 middle-aged women. There we were. Three college boys in a crowd of mothers. I thought this would be my favorite moment of our Black Friday excursion, but not long after the doors to that very store opened, we found none other than…Harvard gear! I was so surprised seeing as we weren’t that close to campus, and it was just so random for this department store to carry college-branded clothes. Actually, there weren’t any other articles of clothing with other schools’ names on them, just Harvard, which is what made it even more random.
While finding the Harvard sweatshirt was probably the coolest thing, the most epic event occurred at another department store an hour later. On a whim, Paul decided to purchase a television. I don’t have cable back home, so a television wasn’t even on my radar (or budget, for that matter). However, it was a great deal and Paul loves to watch TV while doing his schoolwork, so it was the perfect purchase for him. At this point, it was nearly 10 AM, and we were all beat. I came home empty handed, but I think Paul’s expenses made up for the lack of mine and then some! As I said, Black Friday is not so much about purchasing for me. Rather, it’s all about the people, and that awkward 10 minutes with all the moms made my entire morning worthwhile.