I didn't know what Black Friday was until I was in high school. No one I knew got up early to go shopping. I didn't even know that there were big sales the day after Thanksgiving. Combine that with the fact that I inherited my mother's aversion to malls and the result is my absolute refusal to participate in mob shopping.
To be truthful, I've shopped on black Friday three times. The first, I accompanied my high school best friend to Fred Meyer. Every year her grandmother bought socks and underwear for my friend and her seven siblings. As the oldest, my friend had the assignment to accompany her grandmother and to approve all purchases. It was my first Black Friday experience and I was a bit overwhelmed. I couldn't believe how many people were in the store (surely the majority of the 30,000 people who lived in town, and many from the surrounding rural communities). When we arrived the grandma already had a cart full of underclothing and socks, and we began sorting through it and deciding what to keep while waiting in the check out line. Rather than miss out on something good, she grabbed and piled, then waited for us to weed out the good ones.
The second time I was in my married, pre-children life. My friend Suzanne asked me to accompany her. We hit Walmart in Springville, UT just before it was due to open, only to find that it had started snowing, so they let the shoppers in early. They had been allowed to fill their carts, but not to check out. I stood in a check out line while Suzanne flitted around the store finding items from her list. She had some specific things she had hoped to get, but they were gone by the time we got to them. I think we hit one or two other stores, but the highlight of the morning was having breakfast with my friend.
The last time I went shopping on Black Friday was when I was pregnant with Lew. We had travelled to Spokane for Thanksgiving since Craig's brother had just returned from a LDS mission in Ecuador. I had a big list of baby items that I wanted to sew and was hoping to use my mother-in-law's serger. Rather than hit the first thing in the morning sales, we woke at our usual time, showered and left for the fabric store. There was plenty of flannel (which I was after) on the shelves and I loaded my arms...and my mother-in-law's. As we were chatting with the lady in front of us there was a commotion immediately behind us. We turned to find a young woman, unconscious on the floor. Her mother stood, staring at her, mouth open. Everyone else just stared. I realized that no one was going to do anything for this girl. I handed off my bolts of fabric and lowered my 8-month pregnant body to floor to check her vitals. Just then she awoke and informed us that she was lightheaded and dizzy. Turns out they had left home at 4am without eating breakfast and had been shopping for five hours straight without stopping.
That day I decided that I would never again venture out on Black Friday. I can do without the crazy hoarding, the disappointment, the bodily harm. There's nothing I want that badly. I'm happy to stay at home and decorate for Christmas (or if the weather is fine, like today, do a little yard work).